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Ignacio looks at first plans for renovated high school
1/18/2013 By: Carole McWilliams
Ignacio School Board members reviewed the preliminary site and floor plans for the remade high school Tuesday evening, part of the district’s $50 million bond construction program.
The plan replaces significant parts of the current high school and, as previously intended in the bond master plan, removes the old part of the junior high. The existing senior and junior high gyms and locker rooms would remain.
The paved area between the current high school and the new part of the junior high is shown as a landscaped plaza.
Director Troy Webb objected that the plan has security for people entering the building, but not for students out in the plaza. And if there was a building lock-down, any students out in the plaza wouldn’t be able to get in, he said. And an outsider could walk into the plaza and from there into the cafeteria.
The plan moves the cafeteria to the area now occupied by the school administration offices, counselor office, and one or two classrooms. The plan shows the existing cafeteria becoming the library and technology center.
District administrative offices and the school board meeting room will move to what is now the wrestling and fine arts building.
Director Agnes Sanchez wanted a small greenhouse for science projects, separate from the ag department greenhouse. Architect Brian Calhoun said the existing ag greenhouse has structural issues, but the ag department wants to keep it.
Sanchez also wants the family and consumer science rooms to accommodate things like fashion design and sewing, not just culinary activities. That area, along with the cafeteria and a performing arts auditorium will totally replace that part of the existing high school.
Board president Ed McCaw worried the site plan doesn’t have enough parking.
“There’s more in the new design than what’s there now,” Calhoun said. “It’s hard to plan and design for the few events with high demands.”
Superintendent Rocco Fuschetto noted the district owns the land across Becker Street, where the recycling trailer is. That could become overflow parking, he suggested, but, “Right now it’s a mud hole.”
Architect Stuart Coppedge commented, “We didn’t want the front to be dominated by parking, so it feels like a nice place.” The site plan shows a lot of landscaping.
Calhoun said, “We were trying to consolidate parking in one area for security. We are working hard to change the look and feel with landscaping.”
So where does the high school renovation fit in with the other bond issue projects? These include new middle school construction that has already started on the west side of County Road 320, and the renovation and additions that will start this spring at the intermediate school to house all elementary grades.
“We backed off from a more aggressive concept (for the senior high) because we have so much going on,” Calhoun said. “The first part would be the administration building and the wood shop. Move functions out of the fine arts building.” The current wood shop building will go away.
The plan is for high school classes to move into the junior high during next Christmas break. By then, junior high students are supposed to be in the new middle school. The library will move into the current cafeteria. The current district administration building will become music class space, Calhoun said.
After next winter break, asbestos abatement will start in the high school building. Then construction will start. When that is ready for students to move in, the old part of the junior high will be demolished, and renovation will start in the new part of the junior high, Calhoun said. The plan shows the new part of the junior high becoming the wrestling and weight room, athletic training room, and health classroom.
The whole thing is supposed to be finished in fall 2015, he said.
He advised that cost estimates for the current plan are above what is budgeted. The target is around $17.6 million for construction. The plan as shown has a cost estimate of $19.2 million. “We think there’s a lot to work with to reduce the budget,” he said.
Coppedge added, “This all fits into the big picture budget too. We are prioritizing, things you have to have in the base bid.” Other items will be bid alternates. “It’s coming in pretty close to what we thought it would,” he said.
Calhoun noted the performance auditorium wasn’t in the original budget. He put the cost of that at $2 million to $2.5 million.