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.