Majority of building project decisions made

With the selection of color schemes and the decision that at least some of the new classroom windows should have the ability to be opened, most of the major determinations have been made regarding the Monticello school district’s construction project.

One of the only remaining decisions before bid documents are drawn up is what style of entry feature will be added to the existing high school as part of the projected $33 million in work that will begin next summer. It will also include a 14-classroom addition and new gym at Washington Elementary and construction of a two-story science classroom and lab addition at the high school.

Architects form BLDD brought three options to the table regarding the high school entry. One would be a portico style feature that would have brick pillars with luminescent panels between them whose color could be changed with LED lighting.

The other still under consideration is a 20-foot-high feature that would be located further from the entrance and have a backlit “MHS” feature and possible flagpole built in.

A third possibility, similar to the portico but with four pillars and a longer, more triangular-shaped string of LED-lit panels, was ruled out.

Architectural renderings of the third option showed a darker, possibly metallic-looking tower, but some board members thought if pursued it should have a more traditional look – possibly brick with a limestone cap.

Superintendent Vic Zimmerman pondered the use of some bricks or other elements from the 1894 Washington Elementary structure, which will be torn down to make way for the new grade school classrooms and multi-purpose gym.

A main goal is to make the high school entry more visible, something that it currently lacks.

“I think the entry needs to make a statement, but not too big a statement,” said Zimmerman.

The board will make a final decision on the configuration of the entryway at its Oct. 17 meeting.

Whether new windows should have the option of opening was also decided. Architects recommended against it since the project includes air conditioning for all classrooms, but board members said teachers expressed the desire to be able to open at least some of them. Architects will include one or two windows per classroom with the ability to open when specifications are drawn up.

Zimmerman said estimates received earlier pegged the extra cost for the option at $150 per window.

Board members also went over revised color schemes for not only the new construction, but the remodeled areas of the high school and elementary buildings as well. More purple and gold are being incorporated as was requested.

The option of converting a seldom-used audio-video room into some small breakout rooms has also been proposed as part of the media center update.

Last month, the board decided to add some features to the project that can be paid for by non-referendum funds if needed. Those include a more extensive auditorium remodel that will add a balcony, air conditioning the existing Miller and Moore gymnasiums, additional interior renovations to the newer portion of Washington Elementary, and new windows for existing rooms at Washington and the high school.

The referendum approved the new construction, classroom air conditioning, demolition of old Washington, renovation of the media center, auditorium, pit gym and locker rooms, and extensive classroom renovations.

Zimmerman said architects will now generate new cost estimates based on the decisions that have been made in recent months. Voters approved up to $29.8 million in bonds that can be used on the project. With the enhancements, as well as switching from steam heat to hot water heat, the overall effort now has a $33.7 million estimate. The remainder can be paid for by district fund balances, facility sales tax proceeds and interest the district is making on bonds that were issued in the summer.


 

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