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)