Residents gathered at the High School Performing Arts Center on Monday, March 26, to view the initial design of the school facilities projects. These designs, although not final, are a compilation of the feedback received from residents and staff at the January 3 meeting, where interactive exercises were given by project architects ThenDesign Architecture (TDA) . The meeting was held to see how the community responded to the initial design. A question and answer period then took place and guests were able to utilize virtual reality goggles, which showed a 360 degree view of some upcoming features.
School Superintendent Greg Gurka noted that the final design of the new elementary school is not expected for another six months. The new elementary school will be built on the corner of State Road and Valley Parkway and will house about 1500 students from Pre-K to Grade 4. It will have ingress and egress on State Road, due to set back restrictions on Valley Parkway. When completed, the two story structure will be home to all elementary school students, and has the ability, due to the size of the buildings, for the district to be able to accommodate an all day, every day kindergarten, should it decide to offer it at some point in the future. Albion Elementary, Royalview and Valley Vista will then be closed. Residents will begin to see some movement on the property this fall, when trees will be cleared off of the property. Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2019. The elementary school opening is expected with the start of the 2020-21 school year.
Gurka said that facilities projects are presently in the design development stage. “We now know what the square footage will be and now we will determine how that will be developed into a school.” This is the stage in which communications with teachers and other staff members takes place regarding the how various spaces will be utilized. This includes technology, storage and furnishings. The final design is expected in early summer. At that point, Hammond Construction, the construction manager, will devise the guaranteed maximum price, construction documents and time lines to build the facilities. Once the right price has been established, the Board will then vote on the project.
The renovation of the high school is expected to take place in phases and will be complicated by the fact that the staff and students will be in the building when the work is being completed.
Overall, construction will take place from the spring of 2019 and continue through 2021. The sections that were built in the 1970s and 80s should wrap up with the start of the 2020-21 school year. The front of the building, which was built in the 1950s will be torn down and a more efficient, two story layout will be added to make the flow of the building more manageable. The renovation of the sections of the high school that were built in the 1950s and 60s are expected to be completed for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Contributing Writer