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Cadott School Board; Prioritization begins in long-range facility planning

Cadott School Board; Prioritization begins in long-range facility planning Cadott School Board; Prioritization begins in long-range facility planning

Kevin Bills, ISG Architects, talked through three different options for improvements to the Cadott Junior and Senior High School building, during a Committee of the Whole meeting July 25. The improvements can be mixed and matched across options, with the main goal of the evening prioritizing areas to improve. Photo by Julia Wolf

By Julia Wolf

The Cadott School Board focused the July 25 Committee of the Whole meeting, around what they would like the future of the district to look like, especially when it comes to the junior and senior high building. Representatives from Miron Construction and ISG Architects, were on hand to discuss options for the Long-range Facility Plan.

The evening started with a brief recap of what happened earlier in the process, before board members saw options for updates the board can consider and the pricing for different elements.

“Then, it’s really going to be your turn, to really start to give us some direction,” said Craig Uhlenbrauck, Miron Construction.

Uhlenbrauck told the board he would like them to identify any elements they missed, what things they can start eliminating from the options, and what is moved on to the public engagement process and survey.

Andrew Daniels, Miron Construction, reminded board members that the numbers include design and construction fees, inflation contingency and furniture, fixtures and equipment.

The cost of projects that could be done by the district, year after year, outside of a referendum, were also shown. Kevin Bills, ISG Architects, says showing those projects helps fit them into the master plan, so they don’t invest money in an area shortly before a major renovation there.

“We intentionally did not try to total each of these options up, because you can’t do it that way at this point,” said Uhlenbrauck. “As we start to get some prioritization, we’ll start to take some of the master planning options and then, incorporate some of the capital maintenance in with it.”

He says, once they know where major work will be done, they can start capital maintenance planning around those.

Daniels says the team was hired to give the district a snapshot of what needs doing over the next 15-20 years.

Bills says the goal of the various options is to get the pieces in the right spot, where the spaces should be from a master plan perspective.

Uhlenbrauck says the elements from the different options can also be mixed and matched, or changed, to be the best configuration. Any improvements could be made in sections, over a number of years.

In Option 1, potential improvements include a light remodel in the FACS lab to incorporate some commercial equipment. In that option, the district office would stay where it is and undergo a heavier remodel, so the entrance is right by the reception area.

Near the high school commons, the building could be extended out to create a space for the main office.

“Everyone is funneling through that side of the building now,” said Bills, of the potential expansion.

The addition would also expand the kitchen area, with a remodel in the current kitchen.

A building and grounds storage area could also be added to the south side of the building.

“That could probably go anywhere, if we thought about the campus,” said Bills.

Option 1 also included a potential gym expansion on the north side of the building.

On the upper level, the media center could be remodeled to increase the capacity. The current main office area could be transformed to two classrooms and the art room could be extended into the adjacent classroom.

The option also proposes a light remodel to the tech ed area, with a potential addition of an auto lab.

“That would likely be an addition, because that one we would need a little more height than the current space has,” said Bills.

The fitness center would stay where it is and expand into the current wrestling room, with a wrestling addition. Bills says the downside of that is the fitness area is two separate spaces and is not the easiest space for community members to navigate to.

For Option 2, much is the same as the first option. Some differences from Option 1, would be moving sixth grade to the current district office area. The district office would move to the current kitchen area, with an addition by the commons for the main office. The kitchen and commons would expand into Gym 2, and a gymnasium and fitness addition would go on the north end.

On the upper level, differences from Option 1 is expanding wrestling to the current fitness area.

“The problem is, the space is too narrow for a traditional wrestling mat,” said Bills, adding a small addition would be needed to make the space wider.

He says that is an odd space to build from a construction standpoint, so it is not a great option.

In Option 3, the fitness and wrestling areas would join a proposed gym addition on the north side of the building, with the remainder similar to Option 2. The current fitness and wrestling areas would be converted to multipurpose rooms. Next up, the board saw the pricing breakdowns for the potential improvement areas, by option number.

Board members were then asked to give direction on whether to continue the consideration of certain improvements or not, or things they need more information on and where priorities sit. The plans will be refined based on that feedback.

Bills says they figured the cost of moving sixth grade to the junior and senior high building from a space planning perspective, only. He says there are staffing situations to take into consideration besides.

Superintendent Jenny Starck says there would be a staffing impact. If it is something they want to continue to explore, Starck says they would look more into those impacts.

“There are parents that really like it for the opportunities and then there are parents that are concerned, because they don’t want their sixth graders, necessarily, here with the older students,” said Starck.

Bills pointed out moving sixth grade would also grant more flexibility with space in the elementary school, even without direct improvements there.

Board members said they would like to keep the option of moving sixth grade on the table. Becca Blanchette, board vice president, said she would like to see the operational impact for that move, as well.

Cory LaNou, board president, says he would like to see a middle school library section if sixth grade moves buildings, even if that is a stack in the media center.

They decided to keep the media center updates in consideration. Blanchette asked if the media center upgrades should still be pursued, if they decide not to move sixth grade to the building. That question will be reflected on upcoming priorities lists.

LaNou says he would like to see the district and main offices near each other. He says he would rather focus on one secure entrance than two secure entrances.

“It also puts someone at our address,” said Starck, of the potential to shift the offices by the commons area.

Board members decided to keep moving the offices in the running, as well.

Caleb Hundt, junior and senior high principal, pointed out the commons is already tight and moving sixth grade to the building would make it even tighter. He estimated they would need seating for 250 and right now, 180 is tight.

Blanchette says, if they use the plan that takes over Gym 2 with the kitchen and commons area, they would need to do some sort of gym expansion.

“We can’t lose that space and not do the gym, and that’s a lot of money,” said Blanchette.

Bills will work on some reconfigurations to keep the offices together and expand the commons, without losing the current gym space.

“Those are helpful parameters,” said Bills. Daniels said the proposed building and maintenance addition is budgeted for like construction.

“There is a cheaper option to take that maintenance building, put it somewhere else, on-site and likely build it out of less expensive materials,” said Daniels.

Board members thought the attached building and maintenance should be removed from the plans for now, with a separate building considered. LaNou also pointed out that leaves space, in case an expansion is desired further down the road.

Tech ed and the art room area is also on the table, for now. Uhlenbrauck says the auto addition would come in at roughly $1.8 million.

Hundt says kids are interested in autos and would use it if it was available, but there may be additional operational costs to consider as well, such as more teaching staff.

The auto area could be a survey question all on its own, to gauge the public’s priorities.

“For me, when I look at the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) piece here, when I think about the kids specifically, it’s the number one thing we would be doing for our kids,” said LaNou, adding STEAM can have a huge impact on kids’ futures.

Hundt says they have also talked to CVTC about an auto academy, and the improvements would provide a space to offer that, if desired.

When considering the importance of moving either wrestling or fitness to the north end, Daniels said they could consider an option where both are moved beside Gym 2, but a gym addition is not considered at this time. Space could be left for a gym addition in the future.

Representatives from Miron and ISG are planning to return for the Monday, Aug. 29, Committee of the Whole meeting, with updated options reflecting the feedback.

In the business portion of the meeting, board members approved the hire of Joyce Olson, speech/language pathologist.