Archive for Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Architects developing plans for new school

July 27, 2005

The site where Lansing School District's new elementary school will be built looks about the same today as it did nearly four months ago when the $23.6 million bond issue to build the school and a high school auditorium was passed. But Schools Superintendent Randal Bagby said that doesn't mean that nothing is being done on the projects.

"This is where people : want to see some action now," Bagby said.

There is action right now, Bagby said, but it's all going on at the Salina offices of Wilson and Co., Engineers and Architects. Actual construction won't begin until early 2006, but the district's designers of the new structures are completing the schematic design phase, which is the first of five phases in the process of building the K-5 school and high school addition.

"It's still kind of hidden from us because they're still working on it," Bagby said.

Jon Plumer, chief architect for Wilson and Co.'s Salina office and project manager for the Lansing projects, said the schematic designs won't be finished for four to six weeks, but he said he intended to bring the plans to the Lansing School Board's meeting Aug. 8 for approval.

Plumer explained that this first phase, which is mainly a floor plan, was flexible and that the final outcome would depend on the meetings with faculty and staff he hopes to have at the beginning of September.

Work on the schematic designs began in May when Wilson and Co. architects met with teachers, administrators and building staff to determine the needs of the people using the building.

"We wanted to kind of give them the groundwork at the first meeting," Plumer said.

At the meetings, Plumer said he was looking for input on everything from markerboards and maps in the classrooms to lighting and ceiling materials throughout the building to patterns of trash flow for custodians.

Plumer said the next meeting in September would be to discuss changes made to the design and to listen to suggestions for other changes. He said the plans still were flexible during the first phase.

Once the schematic design phase is over, the architecture firm will be able to start the design/development phase, Plumer said. This phase, set to begin in late August or early September, is where the architects "take the design a little further" and start incorporating elevations, wall samples and other, more technical measurements and materials, Plumer said.

The construction design phase will follow design/development and should last from mid-October through January, Plumer said. During this stage, construction documents will be completed and construction manager JE Dunn Construction will begin to get more involved in the process. Mike Vieux, senior project manager for the Lansing schools projects at JE Dunn, said he had attended meetings to give feedback, but that so far the ball had been in the architect's court for planning and development. He said JE Dunn would take over the reins during bidding and construction.

Plumer said the tentative timeframe to start bidding contracts was the end of February through mid-March. Once contractors are secured, construction can begin.

"I'm hopeful construction will start around the first of March," Vieux said.

Vieux said the elementary school would probably take about 14 months to build. The high school auditorium is "more complicated but smaller" and would probably take 10-12 months to build, he said. The target date for construction to be completed on both structures is August 2007, so that classes can be held in them for the 2007-08 school year.

When construction begins, Bagby said he wanted to have a Web site that would help citizens stay abreast of the sites' progress. He also said he hoped to put Web cams at the sites that would broadcast what is happening.

Bagby also said he planned to form committees of community members to give input and ideas. That would come later in the process, he said, because there's not much to discuss yet.

"We have big plans to get the community involved in the process," he said. "All I can involve them in now is waiting for the drawings."

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