School board accepts architect plans for school renovations

During their November meeting held Monday evening, the USD 234 school board received a report from the architects of Hollis and Miller and Nabholz Construction representatives concerning the renovations that will be done at each of the USD 234 schools.

11-10 School Board

“We felt it was perhaps a little overdue that we come and share some exterior, elevations and the colored floor plans to give you just a snapshot of new construction,” said architect Ed Carlson of Hollis and Miller, who participated in the report along with Michael Patrick and Meaghan Williams. “We’re going to give you that broad overview.”

Patrick said the process is moving right along, as they completed the schematic, design and development portions of it, with construction being the next step.

Each of the schools will receive a high-wind shelter located on the school grounds which will have the mandatory specifications to provide shelter to everyone in the school in case of severe weather.

Winfield Scott will also receive a new entry and other changes include a new administrative area, relocating the kindergarten class and other renovations.

Patrick said Eugene Ware served as a bit of a challenge because of the requirements as a historical building, so exterior changes such as in a more secure entry and the shelter will be complementary to the existing structure. The cafeteria will also be relocated and some of the grades shuffled around. The bus loop and drop-off areas could also change slightly.

The middle school will have upgrades done to the corridors as well as the entry piece and add large and small meeting spaces for students.

The elementary and middle schools will also include flexible learning spaces that Williams described as “a different environment than the typical classroom,” meant to get the students excited about learning. Those areas provide more opportunity for interacting while learning as well as spaces where presentations could be made.

The high school has already seen changes, such us in the removal of the old junior college wing, which in the future will include a new entrance and administrative area. Other additions include the auxiliary gym, a science room located in the high-wind shelter, a common space and gallery to place students’ works.

The entire project will include two or three other packages other than the building renovations and changes, which will include signage, furniture and other interior work such as in the auditorium. Those packages will come to the school board in months ahead.

Bids for the project will be accepted on two days this month, Nov. 19 and Nov. 24. Earlier Tuesday they held a pre-bid that included a large number of businesses interested in taking part in the project. A decision will be made by Dec. 7, and will likely require a special school board meeting to approve of it so construction can begin immediately.

“We’re just as anxious to get started as you are,” said Steve Bennett of Nabholz Construction. “We’re optimistic that we’re well on our way to a good project.”

School board members expressed their excitement at seeing progress through the architects’ designs and the interest of bidders for the project, when in recent months there seemed to be no visible achievements. But Carlson and Bennett said both groups have been busy since the school bond was approved a year ago.

“The pace will quicken from here,” superintendent Bob Beckham said.

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