Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20, 2013 Referendum Update


GENERAL CONTRACTOR SELECTED FOR THE ELEMENTARY PROJECT
Following a public bidding process, the Cashton School Board has passed a resolution awarding Boson Construction Company the construction contract for the Elementary Addition and Remodeling project.  Boson submitted the lowest of eight contractor bids. The district’s strategy of pre-selecting a relatively large number of general contractors was designed to create a competitive bid environment.  The process worked. The low bid is competitive and gives us a very good chance to complete this project on budget.

Boson Construction is based in Marshfield, WI.  The company has a successful history of completing educational projects similar to the addition and remodeling at the elementary school.  Boson completed school projects for the Wausau School District (Stettin Elementary), Stevens’ Point Elementary (Bannach Elementary), and the firm is currently completing a project for Marshfield School District. (Marshfield Middle School).   Boson has worked with the SDS, the district’s architect, on prior projects.  SDS confirmed that Boson has a strong reputation for timely and professional work.

Pre-construction meetings will commence immediately.  Groundbreaking for the project is scheduled for March, however, the exact date is yet to be determined.  Our goal is to balance an aggressive effort to complete construction prior to September, 2014, while minimizing educational distractions.

The project at the elementary will result in 21,100 square feet of new educational space and 4,100 square feet of remodeled educational space.  The addition will include a seven classroom primary education (4K-5K) wing, a new entrance/main office, an expanded student pick up and drop off parking lot, and a new cafeteria.  The redesigned main office will have a secure vestibule at the entrance, expanded work and storage areas, a centrally located nurse’s office, and a small conference room for parent meetings or teacher collaboration time.  The new cafeteria will be built by filling in an existing courtyard.  The new cafeteria will be larger and will allow for the old cafeteria space to be used for academics, physical education, CCLC, community fitness activities, and small performances.

In the image below new construction areas are highlighted in yellow.



The images below are 3-dimensional representations of the new entrance.




Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13, 2013 Referendum Update

ELEMENTARY PROJECT
GENERAL CONTRACTOR BIDDING
On Wednesday, December 4 the general contractor walk-through was completed at the elementary school.  54 contractor and subcontractor representatives were present.  We conducted tours of the facility, and our architects and engineers answered any project questions.   We were encouraged by the large number in attendance.

The bid date was December 12.  The follow bids were submitted:


The board will formally select the general contractor at the December 18 Board Meeting.  We were encouraged by the competitive nature of the bids, and the bids compare favorable to pre-bid construction estimates.

QZAB ISSUANCE
We will formally complete the $1,140,000 QZAB issuance on December 17.

MS/HS PROJECT
DAINES HOME
I placed an advertisement for the Daines home in the Cashton Record.  We have had interested buyers look at the home.  All potential buyers have indicated the desire to move the home to another location in the school district.

LEWIS STREET AND 525 COE STREET
The Fire Department declined our invitation to control burn the home at 525 Coe.  After discussions with Al Erickson and the Department of Natural Resources, we have determined that it makes the most sense to hire a demolition contractor to complete this project.  The use of a certified and bonded demolition contractor will minimize the district’s liability, safety, and environmental risks.  I have asked CESA 10 to create a proposal to manage this project from bidding through disposal.  I will present this proposal to the Board at the December meeting.

MS/HS DESIGN 
We are in somewhat of a holding pattern right now.  We will wait to see where the bids for the elementary come in, prior to locking in a design for the MS/HS project.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 20, 2013 Referendum Update

ELEMENTARY PROJECT
GENERAL CONTRACTOR BIDDING
The final quality control review of the construction drawings and project manual was completed on October 29.  An invitation to bid was published in the October 31 and November 7 editions of the Monroe County Democrat and the Cashton Record.   Construction drawings and project manuals have been uploaded to the Plan Room on the Submittal Exchange Website.  On December 4, at 2:00 pm, SDS Architects and representatives from the school will host a contractor walk-through.  Interested bidders have the opportunity to review the project details and submit a bid by 2:00 pm on Thursday, December 12.  The bid opening will be a public event that will take place in the MS/HS cafeteria.  The Board of Education will formally select the elementary project contractor at the regular Board meeting in December.

STUDENT PICKUP/DROPOFF LOT BEFORE AND AFTER
One exterior component to the elementary project is the expansion of the student pickup and drop off lot.  Below are the civil drawings that outline the adjustments to the structure of this area.

CURRENT PARENT PICKUP/DROPOFF LOT




NEW PARENT PICKUP/DROPOFF LOT


QZAB ISSUANCE
At the November 20 Board of Education meeting the school board passed a resolution to complete the issuance and sale of $1,140,000 in interest-free Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB).  The QZAB issuance is one component of the borrowing related to our referendum projects.  The QZAB program helps school districts save on interest costs associated with financing school renovations.  The federal government covers all of the interest in the form of a reimbursement of interest cost paid by the district.  To qualify the school district must obtain commitments from private entities (businesses and/or non-profit organizations) for no less than 10% of the proceeds of the bond issue.

This spring, after our referendum passed, we applied for $1,000,000 of interest-free bonds.  We secured a $50,000 commitment from Don Weber and a $50,000 commitment from Organic Valley. The Department of Public Instruction not only approved us for $1,000,000 in borrowing, they also indicated that an additional $140,000 in interest-free bonds could be obtained if the district could secure additional private commitments.  I am happy to report that the FFA Alumni Association has committed to donating an additional $20,000 over the next five years and the Cashton Alumni Association has committed to donating $7,500 over the next five years. These commitments will make it possible for the district to maximize this interest free financing opportunity.  Our bond counsel estimates that this will save the district over $300,000 in interest costs over the next twenty years.  In addition, the district will receive a total of $127,500 from Mr. Don Weber, Organic Valley, the FFA Alumni Association, and the Cashton Alumni Association.  The FFA Alumni has earmarked their donations to support agriculture students participating in state and national workshops and competitions.  The other entities have asked that their donations be used to support innovative programming, field trips, and other educational opportunities for the students of our district.

MS/HS PROJECT
ACQUISITION OF LAND
On November 20, the District is scheduled to close on 566 Schneider Avenue and 556 Schneider Avenue.  The district will look to sell the home on 556 Schneider Avenue, contingent on the purchaser removing the home from the property.  In the short term the acquisition of this property will help the maintenance staff clear snow from the parking lot behind the school in a more efficient manner.

ASBESTOS REMOVAL
On November 13, a certified asbestos contractor removed category-1 asbestos containing materials from both the home at 525 Coe Street and the Lewis Street Apartments.  After the Department of Natural Resources certifies that the category-1 asbestos containing material has been removed, materials of possible value will be removed from both structures.  These materials will be stored and made available at an auction.  The auction will likely be held on a weekend in the spring.
 
RECAP OF OCTOBER 24, 2013 MS/HS DESIGN MEETING
On October 24, SDS Architects met with selected members of the MS/HS faculty and with the facilities committee. Five different front entrance designs were presented.  Both groups quickly identified two front entrance designs as the only feasible designs presented.   The essential main entrance redesign elements are present in each design, however, they vary in the magnitude and scope of the remodeling at the front of the school.  The facilities committee has asked SDS to create a sample budget for each main entrance design.  The committee felt that this information was needed prior to making any recommendations to the Board of Education.

Friday, October 11, 2013

October 11, 2013, Referendum Update

ELEMENTARY PROJECT UPDATE
At the October Board of Education meeting, I will be asking the Board of Education to release the elementary project for bidding.  In anticipation of this release, SDS has proposed the following bidding timeline.

  1. Final quality control review of the construction drawings and project manual (Oct. 25-28).
  2. SDS will coordinate the proper posting of the project.  The bid period will last approximately one month. Regional contractors with meaningful experience completing educational projects will be invited to bid.  In addition, the project will be posted in local/regional newspapers and trade magazines to assure that all tradesmen and suppliers are aware of the project. (November 12)
  3. Bid period contractor walk-through (December 4).
  4. Public bid opening event  (December 12).
  5. Board of Education selection of elementary project contractor (December Board of Education Meeting).

All dates are tentative.  In the meantime, we are working with SDS, our insurance agency, and District counsel to develop the specific parameters to be included in the bidding documents.

MS/HS PROJECT UPDATE
The architect was at the MS/HS on Monday, October 7.  He met with district officials to continue the process of determining what is fiscally and structurally feasible for the MS/HS project.  After meeting with the administrative team and the director of maintenance and transportation, SDS was directed to develop multiple designs for each aspect to the project.  This includes new front entrance/mail office designs, different options/locations for the multipurpose addition, and varied interpretations of how to best utilize the new space created through the purchase of the properties behind the school.

The architect will return to Cashton on Thursday, October 24 to present these options to both the faculty and facilities committees.  A specific schedule for the faculty design workshop will be developed and shared with the participants.  The facilities committee meeting will be held in the MS/HS conference room at 7:00 pm.

The process for abating the very small amount of asbestos found in the apartments and at 525 Coe Street is proving to take longer than expected.  We are hopeful that much of that task will be complete prior to winter.

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013 Referendum Update

Last Monday at the Annual Meeting the electorate voted to give the Board of Education the authority to acquire the three properties highlighted in the picture below.  The actual vote was 73-Yes and 25-No.


Prior to the District purchasing these properties, we must complete a land survey; conduct a Phase I Environmental Assessment; and appraise each property.  I have scheduled each of these, and they should be completed over the next couple weeks.

I will be asking SDS Architects to begin the process of creating multiple interior and exterior designs for the MS/HS project.  The goal is to present this information to the Facilities and Faculty committees by the end of October.  The exact dates for these workshops have not been set.  

The electorate also authorized the Board of Education to sell obsolete and/or unneeded school property. The plan is to schedule an auction after the asbestos abatement process at 525 Coe Street and the Lewis Street apartments is complete.  It will be hard to predict the exact date of the auction until this process is complete.  However, we will make sure to publicize the date of the auction in the Cashton Record.

We are confident that the elementary project is ready for the general contractor bidding process.   Indications are that we will have a number of capable and qualified firms that will be bidding on the project.  SDS is coordinating the exact bid date in a manner that will allow for the most competitive bids.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19, 2013 Referendum Update

BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES LAND ACQUISITION VOTE
At its September 18th meeting, the Board of Education approved the agenda for its Annual Meeting on September 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm.  The agenda includes two resolutions that pertain to the referendum.  The first is a vote to authorize the School Board to acquire, by purchase, the site located as described below to be designated as a school site pursuant to Sections 120.10(5m) and (5) of the Wisconsin Statutes.


The parcels being considered for purchase and designation as a school site are the following:
1.   Parcel ID No. 111-00398-0000 (566 Schneider St.) in the Village of Cashton, Wisconsin;
2.   Parcel ID No. 111-00399-0000 (556 Schneider St.), in the Village of Cashton, Wisconsin;
3.   Parcel ID No. 111-0040-0000 (546 Schneider St.), in the Village of Cashton, Wisconsin.

The Board intends to purchase the land for the purpose of constructing an addition to the school that aligns with the goals of the referendum.  The acquisition of these properties allows the District the opportunity to build on a preferred site.  It represents an investment in land which has multiple uses versus the expenses related to moving a road.  The site has more space, which allows for logical future expansion and the opportunity for green space.

It is important to note that the costs associated with the purchase of this land will be part of the referendum project.  It will not require additional levying of taxes or the diverting of Fund 10 educational revenues.  The referendum has passed.  The district will be be completing the multi-purpose addition.  If the electorate does not authorize the purchase of this property, the district will move forward with the project at another location.  The proposed site on the southeast corner of the current building was identified by the community stakeholder group, the facilities committee, and the Board of Education as the preferred site.  The property needed to build in this location was not available for sale at the time of the information sessions and the subsequent referendum vote.

Below are some basic designs created by SDS as options for the addition.  One advantage of this location is it will allow the district to design the interior structure in a manner that enhances and adds to the current facility.  It is important to note that the design development process for the project is not complete.  In the end, the multipurpose area will contain a flexible physical education/athletic area; additional classroom areas; and a redesigned main entrance.  The exact size, layout, and other specific elements can not be determined until a site is selected.








BOARD OF EDUCATION SEEKS APPROVAL SALE OF OBSOLETE AND/OR UNNEEDED SCHOOL PROPERTY
To fulfil the goals of the referendum, additional land has been purchased.  Existing buildings on the properties do not align with the needs of the district and need to be removed or demolished prior to construction.  Until that occurs, the district now owns materials that are not relevant to the mission, vision, and purpose of the district.  They may, however, be of value to others.  Prior to disposing of these materials, the district would like to hold an auction to sell this material.  Additional items not associated with the obtained properties that are obsolete, inefficient, or no longer needed may be included for sale also.  To hold an auction, the Board must ask the electorate for approval to sell obsolete and/or unneeded school property.  This vote will occur at the annual meeting.  If approved, the district schedule an auction some time in the Fall which will be published prior to the event.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 10, 2013 Referendum Update

Facilities Committee and MS/HS Faculty Provide Location Feedback Options
On Wednesday, September 4, the MS/HS Faculty and the Facilities Committee had the opportunity to provide feedback related to the location and scope of the multi-purpose addition at the MS/HS.  The current schematic design adds the multi-purpose area in the northeast corner of the school.  Over the past month, the District learned that three properties southwest of the school are for sale.  The property locations are highlighted:

When the Board of Education learned of the possibility of obtaining these properties, they asked SDS Architects to create a schematic design in which the multi-purpose area would be added to the southwest corner of the school.   The intent was to determine if the southwest corner presents a better, more cost efficient, option for the multi-purpose addition and whether it would better support future expansions as needed.  If, based on feedback from the faculty and the facilities committee, the Board of Education identifies the southwest corner of the school as the ideal location for the MS/HS expansion, then they will ask the Electorate to consider the acquisition of the following properties:  566 Schneider, 556 Schneider, and 546 Schneider.  This vote would be held in conjunction with the District’s Annual Meeting on Monday, September 23 at 7:00 pm in the High School Gym.

At the Faculty and Facilities Committee meetings on Wednesday, both groups reviewed the “Northeast” and “Southwest” options.  Below is a summary of the their analysis.

The Northeast Option
Completing the addition onto the northeast corner of the school would require building out into Coe Street.  The district has learned moving the street (as is pictured above) would require the movement of water and sewer below the road and the addition of new curb and gutters for the portion of the street that veers towards Hwy 33.  Engineers from Delta 3 Engineering, Inc. estimated that these changes would cost $115,000-$175,000.   Above ground electrical lines would have to be rerouted or buried, at an additional cost.

Northeast Option Faculty/Facilities Feedback
Positives
Integrates the essential aspects of the referendum.
Centrally locates the multi-purpose addition for community use.
Provides a connection between the existing gym and the proposed cardio-lab area.
Diverts traffic on Coe further away from the front of the school.
Provides pedestrian friendly access to Hwy 33.

Negatives
The size and location of the addition will require an expensive road configuration.
If the district elects to not move the road, the size and scope of the addition would have to be reduced.
Both the original and scaled back version of the Northeast option reduce current parking availability.
When (If) the Village extends Kissel Street to Hwy. 33 the overall amount of parking in front of the school will be further reduced.
The expansion of the building to the Northwest reduces the distance between the main entry and State Highway 33 which could impact safety.


The Southwest Option
Completing the addition at the southwest corner of the school would require removing an underground diesel fuel barrel, rerouting gas and electric feeds into the building, and changing the configuration of the garage door into the technical education shop.  In addition, it would require the acquisition of three properties at an estimated cost of $180,000.  As is noted in the picture, the entrance to the school and main office would be redesigned to address needs for secure access and student safety.  This redesign may extend into Coe Street slightly, however, it would not require major adjustments to the road.

Southwest Option Faculty/Facilities Feedback
Positives
Integrates the essential aspects of the referendum.
There is more space, which allows for logical future expansion and green space.
The district would be investing in land acquisition which has multiple uses versus moving a road.
Could eliminate the need for a second elevator.
The proximity to the locker rooms make the new cardio-lab space functional.
Alleviates the need for more storage for district vans, trailers, and other maintenance equipment.
Maximizes the amount of classrooms that have windows.

Negatives
Changing the location would result in back tracking on design development.
There costs of removing the fuel barrel and burying utilities is unknown.
Requires the removal of houses and other site preparation.
May require property rezoning.

Discussion of Reducing the Size of the Multipurpose Addition
At each meeting, the discussion of reducing the size of the multipurpose addition was discussed.  Both groups indicated reducing the size of the multipurpose addition should only be done if it is necessary to complete the project within the authorized referendum amount.

If the Board of Education identifies the southwest corner of the school as the ideal location for the MS/HS expansion, they will ask the Electorate to consider the acquisition of the following properties:  566 Schneider, 556 Schneider, and 546 Schneider.  This vote would be held in conjunction with the District’s Annual Meeting on Monday, September 23 at 7:00 pm in the High School Gym. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

August 30, 2013 Referendum Update

There will be plenty of excitement and jitters in the eyes of children on Tuesday as they start the 2013-14 school year.  The summer, as it always does, flew by.  The yearly process of closing out the 2012-13 school year as well as preparing for the 2013-14 school year has kept us all busy over the past month. Below is a referendum progress update that provides some key developments and details the continued need for facilities committee and faculty feedback.

ELEMENTARY PROJECT FINAL DESIGN
The architects have completed the final design elements for the elementary project.  Over the next few weeks the Architectural Design will be used to develop a Construction Document.  The Construction Document will facilitate the bidding process that will culminate in the selection of a qualified general contractor.  The scope of the elementary project will require about 5-months of construction.  Our target final completion date is August 15, 2014.  This will require the project starting March, 2014.  Obviously the weather makes it a challenge to predict the exact project timeline, however, completing the project prior to the 2014-15 school year is a priority.  According to industry experts the ideal time to get a competitive bid for a spring project is in late fall or early winter.  We will use this timeline when developing the bidding process.


A lot of work has been done to prepare the site for school expansion. I have included enlarged pictures that highlight some of the key elements of the project.


The elementary addition will take place at the northwest corner of the existing building.  The addition will include seven new classrooms.  The rooms are scheduled to become 4K, 5K, Primary Special Education, and Primary Title I classrooms.  The addition also includes new bathrooms in between the 4K rooms and outside of the new main office.  The redesigned main office will have a secure vestibule at the entrance, expanded work and storage areas, a centrally located nurse’s office, and a small conference room for parent meetings or teacher collaboration time.  The yellow spaces indicate remodeled areas for the School Psychologist, Paraprofessionals, and the Speech/Language Teacher.
A new cafeteria will be built by filling in the courtyard.  The new cafeteria will better accommodate the elementary student enrollment and allow for the old cafeteria space to be used for academics, physical education, CCLC, and small performances. Storage will be added in the kitchen and in the new cafeteria.  

MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT
The house (525 Coe Street) and apartments (Lewis Street) will both be vacant as of September 1.  Both structures are scheduled to be demolished.  The first step in this process is to complete asbestos and environmental testing.  Testing will identify any materials that will have to be removed prior to demolition.  We are in the process of determining if the demolition will be handled by district maintenance staff or will require the use of a demolition company.  

The current schematic design requires adjustments to Coe Street.  An engineer for the Village provided the district with some basic estimates for the cost of these adjustments.  Prior to any permanent adjustments to Coe Street, we want to make sure that the design represents the most fiscally prudent option, while still completing the projects authorized by the referendum.  In addition, we would like to coordinate the timing of these adjustments to align to a proposed project to extend Kissel Street through to Highway 33 and the Department of Transportation’s scheduled expansion of Highway 33.

With these challenges in mind the Board is working with SDS Architects to create new options for the multipurpose addition at the MS/HS.  The intent is to create options that would not require major adjustments to Coe Street, and to review the possibility of another location for the addition.  

Thank you for your continued commitment to this project.  We made a lot of progress throughout the summer months, and I look forward to continuing this positive momentum throughout the fall.  Please call me, e-mail, or check the referendum website for more information.


Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013 Referendum Update

Removal of Buildings As most of you have noticed, the removal of houses and buildings on the property adjacent to the elementary school is an indication that we are in the very early stages of preparing the site for the elementary expansion. Final Acquisition of Properties On Friday, July 26 the school district closed on the Bolchen (Apartment) property. The closing starts the clock on the state-statute required 90 day grace period for any remaining tenants. One expectation of the relocation consultant is to assure that remaining tenants adhere to the requirements set forth by the relocation plan. Closing on the final parcel of land adjacent to the elementary school has yet to be scheduled, however, the goal is to complete this process prior to August 31. Elementary Project Design Development Progress Meeting On Thursday, July 25 members of the administrative and maintenance staff met with a group of architects from SDS and engineers from KJWW. The lengthy meeting consisted of a room by room analysis of the design development plan. District officials identified educational priorities and the entire team worked to correlate the design pictures with the actual structural requirements of the building. In the coming weeks SDS will issue a Design Development Final Review Set that includes data sheets for each room and drawing sets for each discipline. The Board of Education will review the set and follow up with questions/comments. Once changes are made, the final set will be approved. SDS will then move into the Construction Document Phase. Current Floor Plans I included updated versions of the new Elementary and Middle/High School Floor plans. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or any other feedback related to either design.


ELEMENTARY FLOOR PLAN

MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL 1ST FLOOR PLAN

MIDDLE HIGH SCHOOL 2ND FLOOR PLAN

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013 Referendum Update

Department of Transportation Visit
On July 1, two representatives from the Department of Transportation met with representatives from the School District and Village to review our proposal to change the direction of Coe Street in a manner that would allow for the construction of the multipurpose addition, improve student pick up/drop off in front of the high school, and connect school district walkways to proposed village paths.  The pictures below illustrate what was presented to the DOT.




The pictures do not include the area currently used by Hundt Implement to store farming equipment.  However,  this information was communicated to the DOT, and the district is accounting for the fact that Hundt Implement owns land in front of the school.  The pictures are drawn to reflect Kissel Street’s current configuration.  However, the ramifications of the Village proposal to extend Kissel Street through to Hwy 33 we discussed.  This will reduce the size of the MS/HS parking lot.  It is yet to be determined how the land vacated by Coe Street east of Kissel will be developed.  It possibly could be used for more parking or for green space.  This decision will have to be made in conjunction with all parties who own land in that area.

The feedback from the DOT was generally positive.  They saw nothing initially that would be problematic.  The distances between the “new” Coe Street/Hwy 33 intersection and the “new” Kissel Street/Hwy 33 intersection were measured.  They were encouraged by the decrease in access points onto Hwy 33, but wanted to make sure the distance between access points was acceptable.

The adjustment of Coe Street will require the rerouting of water and utilities.  The village and engineers from SDS Architects are currently investigating the logistics of how to move these in the most cost efficient manner.  Engineers have been asked to make sure that the water and sewer capacity is adjusted to meet the demand of the new addition.

MS/HS Project Design Workshop
On Tuesday, July 9 we completed our fourth design workshop.  Members of the MS/HS faculty and Facilities Committee participated in a joint meeting to review the schematic design for the MS/HS multipurpose addition and remodeling.

The group reviewed the exterior design of the MS/HS (pictured above).  The group felt the flow of parking lot was an improvement from the current configuration.  The addition clarifies the front entrance and improves the “securability” of the school.  It provides a pedestrian friendly route to buses, the elementary school,  and to Hwy 33 crosswalks.  Members of the group questioned how close the addition will be to Kissel Street.  SDS architects are going to investigate to determine if adjustments to the design plan will be needed.

The amount of parking was questioned.  The current schematic will likely result in a decrease in the number of parking spots at the school.  The group discussed possible solutions such as having the students park at the elementary or future land acquisition to create more parking.

The group asked the architects to look at possible ways to introduce natural light into the building.  It was observed that the addition will result in the loss of windows in five classrooms.



FIRST FLOOR FEATURES

Athletic Multipurpose Area

  • This area will include equipment from the cardio lab and new speed, strength, and conditioning equipment.  
  • It will be used by physical education students, student-athletes, and community members.
  • Moving the cardio-lab equipment will expand the size of our cafeteria.
  • Proper storage was discussed, it was determined that more storage areas may be needed.


Half Court Gym

  • This space will have two stories.
  • The floor will be a multipurpose material similar to the field-house at UW-LaCrosse.
  • The area can be used for speed and conditioning drills; plyometric activities, team sports such as volleyball, badminton, or basketball; and co-curricular spring practices.
  • Group members indicated a desire to have a visual and acoustic connection between the gym and the athletic multi-purpose area for coaching and teaching purposes.  Operable partitions, glass walls, large “roll up” doors were discussed as solutions.
  • Removing the wall on the east side of the court was discussed to increase the usable area in half court gym.

Bathrooms/Changing Areas

  • The group discussed the need for additional space in the bathrooms for students or community members to change or to shower.  It was determined that each bathroom would only need one shower stall and changing area.  

Stairwell/Elevator

  • The multipurpose area has its own stairwell and elevator.  This allows for the area to be secured from other school locations.

Main Office

  • The main office is reconfigured in a manner that requires entry to the school through the main office.  
  • Administrative offices will be relocated to the opposite side of the hallway.  The classroom located in this area will be relocated to the current main office space.  The new classroom space may be large enough to accommodate additional storage space.



2ND FLOOR FEATURES

Academic Multipurpose Area

  • The area is large enough for three classroom spaces.  The design includes operable partitions to divide the space into three separate classrooms or into one or two larger classrooms.
  • The multipurpose rooms provide a space to complete academic activities that are challenging to complete in smaller classroom spaces.  The group identified the space could be used for group activities, demonstrations, project work time, presentations, skits, practice areas for plays/forensics, and small banquets.  In addition, the space would be available for community use after hours.
  • As enrollment grows these classrooms will transition into fixed classrooms.  The area connects to both middle school and high school second floor hallways.  This was viewed as advantageous because it allows the rooms to be transitioned to either middle or high school rooms based on need.
  • A presentation screen, robust wireless connections, a small presentation/stage area, a countertop and sink, and dedicated outlets for “potlucks” were elements discussed that would make this space educationally effective.
  • The flooring of this area may be epoxy, linoleum, or higher quality sheet vinyl.

Bathroom

  • The addition will include another set of bathrooms on the second floor.  A welcome addition to a floor with only one set of bathrooms.

Half Court Gym

  • The space above the gym is open.  This will allow for athletic activities that require a higher space.


Purchase of Pieper and Connelly Properties
On Friday, June 21 the district officially closed on the Pieper and Connelly properties.  The district is currently working with CESA 10, to properly address the environmental issues associated with the removal of the house at 525 Coe Street.

Relocation Plan Accepted by the Department of Administration
On Wednesday, June 26 the district received word from the DOA that our relocation plan was formally accepted.  I met with Peter Miesbauer our relocation consultant on July 2.  The next step of the plan will be for Mr. Miesbauer to meet with each displaced tenant and determine their specific relocation settlement.  These settlements will be turned over to the district for approval and distribution.  In the meantime, we are in the process of scheduling the closings for the Bolchen (Apartments) and Hundt properties.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013 Referendum Update

Village and School Board Discussion Session
On Monday, June 24, the Village Board and the School Board met to discuss Coe Street, Kissel Street, the MS/HS parking lot, and the MS/HS entrances.   Representatives from the school reviewed the current schematic design plans for the MS/HS facilities project.  In addition, representatives from the Village board reviewed their plans for extending Kissel Street and removing the Coe Street/Front Street intersection.  The school board explained how changes to Coe Street in front of the MS/HS would improve student safety and and also improve the current parking lot area.
One possible solution that was discussed was closing down Coe Street between Lewis Street and Kissel Street.  Closing down Coe would eliminate traffic in front of the middle/high school, and allow the district to configure the lot in a manner that separates bus drop off, student parking, and parent/student drop off.  Members of the Village board indicated that this would be inconvenient for residents in the Schneider/Brody neighborhood when they attempted to access Front Street heading east.  In addition, it would increase the amount of traffic on Lewis Street and the Lewis Street/Front Street intersection.  The group recognized the design of the Lewis/Front Street intersection was not ideal.
Moving, rather than closing, the section of Coe Street adjacent to the MS/HS to wrap around the proposed multi-purpose addition was also discussed. The group recognized the need to change Coe Street if the multi-purpose addition is added to the northeast portion of the MS/HS building.  Members from the village board indicated that redirecting Coe Street in front of the school would not be an problem, as it would result in no change of current traffic patterns.  The concern for this option is that it still splits the entire parking lot from the school, and limits parking lot reorganization options and future expansion for the school.
The group also suggested having Coe Street veer North and, as a result, provide a new access point to Front Street along the Western edge of the current MS/HS parking lot.  In this option, the village would consider vacating the street in front of the multi-purpose addition.  This represents a possible compromise in which the school would have options for reorganizing the parking lot layout and limiting traffic in front of the school.  This option maintains a logical Front Street access for residents in the Schneider/Brody neighborhood.  Mr. Beckum indicated that this option should be presented to the department of transportation as soon as possible.  He is concerned that the DOT may not approve the change if the “new” Coe Street and the “new” Kissel Street intersections are too close together.  The group agreed that a meeting with DOT should be arranged.  Mr. Beckum and I contacted the DOT, and a representative will be at the school on Monday, July 1st.
Other topics were discussed.  No formal actions were taken on any of these items.
There is a safety concern when student athletes drive from the MS/HS parking lot to the ELEM parking lot at the end of the day.
Closing Coe Street between Lewis and Kissel streets only during school hours was considered.
What will happen to the land north east of the MS/HS after the Kissel project is complete?  Could this be a new parking lot? Green space or a small park?


Elementary Project Design Workshop
On Thursday, June 27, we completed a third design workshop.  The workshop consisted of two sessions, one for elementary faculty and one for members of the facilities/stakeholder committee.  The results of the meeting were positive and reflected a general consensus of those present.

Dale Poynter and Chelsea Swanson from SDS Architects presented five schematic designs to the group.  The schematic designs were variations of previous designs.  Early in this meeting, it was clear the draft design below was the most popular.  In this design, the parent pick up/drop off parking lot remains in the same general location.  However, it is expanded and sidewalks are added to allow for students and visitors to get to the main entrance without crossing lanes of traffic.   Angled parking on the north side of the parking lot replaces the parking in the center median of the lot.    Faculty members supported this design because it clearly designates the main entrances, utilizes the existing access roads, and will not be a big change for parents/visitors.  Additionally, the design supports future expansion if necessary to the west of the current building.


Faculty members in attendance favored the new classrooms in one standard (3 classroom by 3 classroom) hallway rather than surrounding a central rectangular open area.
The location of the new bathrooms was discussed.  Teachers wanted to make sure that the location of the bathrooms supported reasonable needs for supervision while also minimizing disruptions for adjacent classrooms.  In this design, the new restrooms are close to the office which was identified as a favorable location.
The parking lot south west of the school would be used primarily as a faculty parking lot and for event/bus parking which in turn increases available spaces in the current northeast lot.   The size and exact location of this parking lot is flexible.
The group favored leaving the cafeteria space open and felt that, with the addition of storage space in front of the current receiving room, there was no additional need for general storage rooms in the new cafeteria beyond that needed to serve the kitchen.   Below is a 3D interpretation of this schematic design.




MS/HS Project Design Workshop Scheduled
I am encouraged by the progress that we have made at the elementary school, and I am hopeful that we will continue to build positive momentum for the MS/HS project with the Village and with the Department of Transportation.  I have been in contact with Mr. Poynter over the past week, and he is using the feedback, questions, and comments we have already provided to add detail to the schematic design for MS/HS project.  We are at a point in which Mr. Poynter would like to gain more design feedback.  I would like to schedule a MS/HS focused workshop for both faculty and interested members of the facilities/stakeholder committee.  The date we have selected is Tuesday, July 9 at 7:00 pm.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 6, 2013 Referendum Update

June 6 Facilities/Stakeholder Design Workshop
On Thursday, 24 community members gathered for a design workshop with Dale Poynter, lead architect from SDS.  The community members represented a large portion of the community stakeholder and facilities committees.  Both groups will provide community input to district officials throughout the facilities projects.
Mr. Poynter began by providing a brief overview of the project scope, budget, and the progress made thus far.  The majority of the meeting was spent analyzing three different designs for the Elementary and Middle/High School Projects.  For each design, Mr. Poynter presented basic blueprints outlining the remodeled and new construction spaces.  He provided multiple 2D and 3D images of each design in an effort to help the group visualize how the facilities project will change the interiors and exteriors of each building.  It was understood that various elements of the different options could be interchanged (i.e. the cafeteria from option A and the addition from option B could be combined).

Elementary Project
The general preference for the elementary school is the option pictured below:



In this design the existing cafeteria is to become a multi-purpose room.  The room would be used for elementary after school programming, small group instruction during the school day, indoor recess times, and other educational activities.  The stage that is currently being used as a classroom would revert back to a performance area.  The group would prefer that the NE corner of this room be more open to the gym lobby area, but still have the flexibility to close the space off.   The existing courtyard will be converted into a new cafeteria.  The current courtyard space is not usable and is tough to maintain.  The new cafeteria could be made accessible to the current kitchen with some small adjustments to the tray drop off and dish washing areas.  The new cafeteria will improve the flow into and out of the cafeteria areas.
The group felt that the main office in this design allowed for maximum visibility for both the east and west entrances.  The group discussed repurposing rooms in the front of the school for the main office, however, ultimately the group felt that this change was not worth the expense.  Group members commented that the “angled” new entrance allowed for good visibility.
Below is the a basic 3D image of what the design could look like from the front and the back of the school.



There was considerable discussion regarding the best location for “bus drop-off” versus “parent drop-off”.  This is a logistical detail that doesn't have to be decided immediately.  As it is noted in the design, locating the buses at the west entrance allows the east entrance to remain the “main entrance” for parents, guests, and visitors.  This may create issues because the buses will have to re-enter Highway 33 to get to the MS/HS at the beginning and end of the day.  Regardless of where the buses end up, it would make sense to tie the new west drive with the existing “cul-de-sac” drive as much as possible.  The size and location of the parking lots was also debated, with no final consensus being met.  This topic will have to continue to be addressed.  The group would like Mr. Poynter to present a few additional configuration possibilities.
The other issue that the group identified at the elementary school is a need for more storage.  One idea would be expand and add storage to the delivery area north of the cafeteria.

Middle/High School Project
Mr. Poynter presented two different design locations.  It was the general consensus of the group that building onto the northeast corner of the MS/HS building was the best option presented.  Mr. Poynter also presented two different interior design options.  The group favored the design option below.  This interior design provided a half-court for both PE and athletics use.  The court would have multi-purpose flooring that could be used for speed/coordination drills, volleyball, badminton, indoor baseball/softball/track practices, and other recreational activities. The half court is situated adjacent to the fitness/cardio-lab area.  This position would allow for the fitness area and half court area to be used by the same group or by multiple groups.  Group members identified this configuration as having the most versatile functions, as well as providing a legitimate PE/Athletics space when the high school gym is unavailable due to musical concerts or plays.   Members of the group liked that the design included access between the multipurpose area and the existing gym.  The second floor would include a multipurpose room that could be used by teachers during the day for classroom activities that require a larger space.  In addition, this room could be targeted for other shared classroom spaces (i.e. technology lab).  They also agreed that the design would allow for after-school community access without having to provide access to the entire facility.
There were aspects of the design that the group agreed should be omitted.  The second floor track didn’t appear to be large enough to provide a physical benefit and has inherent structural, cost, and liability considerations.  The group also liked the elimination of a “kitchen” area.  The multipurpose area may have a small serving area and a sink, for school activities or small community gatherings.  Below is a picture of the general MS/HS design:


The group asked Mr. Poynter to work to combine a new front entrance with both existing entrances.  This design would allow the main entrance to be the entrance into the cafeteria.  For this design adjustment to work, the main office may have to “swap” locations with Mr. Hundt’s room and the conference room.  This adjustment would centralize the main office and avoid the entrance conflict with the existing stairwell.  These suggestions will be considered and options will be provided at the next facilities and faculty committee workshops.  Below is a basic 3D rendering of how the multipurpose addition could look at the MS/HS:




Joint Village and School District Meeting
A request has been made for the Village Board and Board of Education to hold a joint meeting on June 24th to discuss Coe Street, the multipurpose addition to the HSl, and the HS parking lot.  As outlined above, this is a key component the MS/HS multipurpose addition.

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 2, 2013 Cashton Qualifies for Interest Free Bonds

I am excited to report that Cashton School District qualified for $1,140,0000 in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB).  This means the district will be able to borrow that amount interest free as part of the 12,310,000 that will be borrowed to finance the facilities referendum projects.  QZAB funds are federal funds available to school districts who have at least 35 percent free and reduced lunch.  To qualify for the interest-free bonds the district had to secure private matching in excess of $100,000.  The primary source of private funds were donations provided by Organic Valley and by Cashton alumni Don Weber.  Having access to interest free financing will save taxpayers money because the district will have less interest obligations.  Brian Brewer, the district’s bond counsel with Robert W. Baird & Co, estimates that this could save taxpayers about $340,000 over the next twenty years.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 23, 2013 Referendum Update

SDS Architects Visit With Faculty Representatives
Dale Poynter, President and Lead Architect for SDS, completed his first design workshop with faculty members on May 15.  The workshop consisted of six listening sessions with elementary faculty, three listening sessions with MS/HS faculty, and a observation of an elementary lunch service.   

For elementary faculty representatives, Mr. Poynter reviewed his current conceptual drawings and faculty provided feedback related to layout, design, room configuration, storage consideration, cafeteria capacity and flow, and specific needs for special education and Title I rooms.  Mr. Poynter used this information to create three different design options.  Each option has a different layout for the classroom additions and the cafeteria.   The new classrooms are being targeted for use by 4 year old kindergarten and 5 year old kindergarten.  Each design incorporated the concept of a “Kindergarten Wing” and includes elements valued by the teachers at those grade levels.  All elementary teachers and support staff members attended a faculty meeting that included a brief overview of a few preliminary drawings and were invited to offer comments based on their perceptions.  Themes from formal and informal feedback are shared with Mr Poynter to inform his process.

At the high school, Mr. Poynter met with physical education teachers and representatives from the coaching staff.  There was considerable discussion regarding the desired interior design features of the multiple purpose area.  From this feedback Mr. Poynter created some very general design options that balance providing a multi-faceted fitness/physical education area on the first floor while still maximizing the square footage on the second floor.

Facilities Committee Meeting Scheduled for Thursday, June 6th at 7:00 pm
Mr. Poynter is committed to gaining feedback from the Facilities/Stakeholder committee members.  We have scheduled a design workshop for the facilities/stakeholder committees for Thursday, June 6th at 7:00 pm in the High School cafeteria.  At the meeting members of the committee will have the opportunity to provide feedback, ask questions, and select the elements of each design option they feel best represent our vision for the project.  After this input session, we will ask Mr. Poynter to create a much more detailed rendering of each project.  This detailed design will shared with faculty and the facilities committee before ultimately being accepted by the school board.

Vague, But Positive Feedback from the Department of Transportation
We were able to communicate our general plan of redirecting/adjusting Coe Street with Joseph Gregas at the Department of Transportation.  His response was positive, he saw no issues with the redirection or change of Coe Street.  While this is positive, we are also a little cautious because this was a short preliminary discussion.  Moving forward we will need to reach a positive agreement that helps the village and the school board reach their desired goals for the area in front of the high school.  We also plan to leave a little flexibility in the design in front of the multi-purpose addition to allow for future adjustments or redesigns of traffic flow.  
Relocation Plan Update
Peter Miesbauer is the consultant creating the relocation plan that the district is required to create for the Department of Administration.  Literature was sent to all tenants, Mr. Miesbauer has attempted contact with all tenants, and has met with several tenants over the past week. He indicated yesterday (May 21) that he will be done with the relocation plan shortly after the first of the month.  This plan will be submitted for approval from the Department of Administration as soon as it is completed.

May 10, 2013 Referendum Update

SDS Architects Present to the BOE

On May 6th, representatives from SDS Architects met with the Board of Education to offer an update on preliminary designs, to develop tentative timelines, and to identify “next steps.” SDS worked with the district in 2010 to complete an infrastructure audit, and they developed project cost estimates for the district throughout the referendum process.  SDS revisited several of the original budget items that have changed since the start of the referendum conversation based on the feedback from the committees and community information sessions.


During the meeting, Dale Poynter, SDS Architect, and Steve Rubenzer, SDS on-site project manager, reviewed the evolution of the conceptual designs that they have created for the elementary project. These projects include new classrooms; the renovation of cafeteria and courtyard; the redesign of the main office; and reconfiguration of the entrances/parking lots that better accommodates parent pick up/drop off, bus pick up/drop off, and visitor parking.


Mr. Poynter and Mr. Rubenzer reviewed the current conceptual drawing for the high school. They are attempting to honor the facilities committee request to prioritize the multipurpose addition at the MS/HS building. Mr. Poynter indicated that there is flexibility with the scope and design of the multipurpose addition; however, prior to moving forward, it will be important for the district to finalize the location. Finalizing the location will help faculty, staff, the facilities committee, and administration make recommendations regarding the specific interior design of the multi-purpose addition. The location decision also impacts the timeline for the elementary building timeline due to the differences in loads on heating/cooling, electrical, and plumbing systems the MPA represents.  A summary of the projected project budget was also shared. SDS stressed that this budget is still very general and based on the square footage of new construction, the square footage of remodeled space, and the needed infrastructure updates outlined in the referendum. A more specific budget will be possible after the design/development phase is complete. SDS provided the BOE with a basic contract proposal. The board asked Mr. Saron and me to have the contract details reviewed by a school district attorney. 


Feedback Sessions Scheduled


On Wednesday, May 15th, representatives from SDS will hold design workshops for the elementary project, meeting with teachers, support staff, and kitchen personnel.  Representatives will also observe lunch and kitchen operations in action. These sessions will allow our internal educational and school experts to provide feedback related to the scope and design of the project. Later in May, SDS will hold a similar feedback session with the facilities/community stakeholder group committee. 


This meeting will be an opportunity for members from both the facilities and community stakeholder groups to learn more about the scope, design, budget, and details for the elementary phase of the referendum project. We hope to set a specific date and time soon. After the elementary feedback sessions, if all goes well, architects will begin the process of transforming the conceptual designs into a construction document. The construction document will be used during the competitive bidding process. At the May 6th Board meeting, SDS indicated that a September 2014 project completion of the elementary school is very realistic, provided there are no unforeseen circumstances that cause delays. 


We are planning a similar process for collecting feedback from faculty, staff, and the facilities committee for the projects at the MS/HS.  Clearly, the most important question to be answered relates the location of the multi-purpose addition.   It appears the only feasible way to add the MPA to the MS/HS is to reach an agreement with the village to redirect/adjust Coe Street.  I attached the basic sketch (HSMPA) we have shared with the village board and the DOT.  Initial feedback from the village board is positive.  We are still coordinating schedules with the DOT and are hopeful that a joint meeting with representatives from the school, the village, and the DOT will occur by the end of next week (May 13-14).  The location of the MPA is a big decision because engineers will have to plan for the infrastructure updates (electrical, HVAC, etc) required for an addition of this magnitude.  Our goal is to continue to work with village and the DOT and push for an agreement so all projects can move forward in a timely manner.  In the meantime, SDS Architects will meet with the MS/HS PE staff, coaches, and MS/HS office staff on May 15th to gain preliminary feedback as they progress with the interior design of the MPA.  


Land Purchase and Relocation Plan Update


Land acquisition has proven to be a long process. Earnest money has been paid to owners, and initial environmental surveys will soon take place. The relocation plan will be developed and submitted to the Department of Administration in May. Between the end of May and August, the school district and property owners will “close” on the properties, and the school district will formally take ownership of the parcels. 


May 3, 2013 Referendum Update

On April 2nd, residents of the Cashton School District passed a building referendum. The passing of the referendum allows the district to enhance our facilities in a manner that addresses current educational space issues, updates inefficient energy systems, reconfigures building entrances, and supports community access to school facilities.   The project will include the following campus updates: 
  • Heating ventilation and air conditioning improvements at the middle/high school and elementary school,
  • Construction and equipping of 6 new classrooms at the elementary school,
  • Renovation and expansion of the elementary cafeteria,
  • Construction, equipping, and furnishing of a multi-use addition,
  • Acquisition of land to complete referendum projects, parking, and additional greenspace
  • Other improvements to school facilities.



As one might imagine, a project of this magnitude requires a great deal of planning.   Currently, representatives from the district have met with the SDS Architects for an initial meeting.  SDS Architects were used for the 1996 building referendum and helped with the preliminary project estimates prior to the referendum vote.  The scope of the project was reviewed and a preliminary project schedule was shared. 

Based on community feedback and current instructional needs, the projects at the elementary school have been identified as a higher priority.  Early estimates predict that the elementary projects could be completed by September 2014.   Projects at the middle/high school have been tentatively set for completion by the fall of 2015.

Currently representatives from the district are working on preliminary and concept designs for the elementary and middle/high school project.  Some of this work was accomplished during the pre-referendum process, but more is needed to solidify regarding the location of the new classrooms, the redesign of the cafeteria, configuration of new entrances and parking areas, and the prioritization of building infrastructure updates. 

Conceptual designs have been created for the multi-purpose addition.  As requested by the Board of Education, Community Stakeholder Group, and Facilities Committee, the district is actively pursuing the feasibility of constructing this addition on to the current middle/high school building.    The goal in designing the multi-purpose addition is to create a space that can be used for physical education and co-curricular activities; a dedicated and permanent space for district cardio and strength equipment; flexible classroom space for school or educational use; and space for future permanent classrooms.  Conceptual designs have been created for an addition that would have two stories and approximately 20,000 square feet.

Once the district has finalized the architectural selection process; the Facilities Committee will have the opportunity to provide direct feedback to the architects and engineers prior to the finalization of the design.
 
At a meeting held on April 17th, the electorate authorized the district to purchase four parcels of land that will be used to complete referendum projects, parking, and additional greenspace.  Currently some of these parcels of land contain housing with tenants.  The district is following relocation regulations outlined by the Wisconsin Department of Administration, and this process will take place in a manner as to not delay the construction timeline.  

It important to recognize the work of the Community Stakeholder Group, these community members have volunteered their time to research the current state of the district; to solicit feedback from all community members, and make recommendations to the Board of Education. 

Community Stakeholder Group
Annette Trescher
John Weber
Darin Von Ruden
Beth Wells
Gerry Klinkner
Holly Boisen
Jeff Williams
Karine Brueggen
Jenny Butzler
Sue Schmitz
Diane McNulty
Sara Cook (Board Representative)

In addition, the Facilities Committee will now play an important role in providing the feedback to district officials throughout the building projects.

Facilities Committee
Jack Herricks
Dan Korn
Scott Mlsna
Jack Herricks
Lucy Vaaler
Bill Freiberg
Al Erickson
Brenda Huntzicker
Roxane Schmitz
Mike Schmitz  
David Brueggen (Board Representative)