Following successful passage of the bond vote on September 13, 2011, the architects at HSR Associates (“HSR”) started designing the preliminary draft of the floor plan for the new Junior – Senior High School. HSR used the conceptual designs derived by the Exploratory Committee in the Spring of 2011 (and modified based on community feedback during the bond campaign) as their starting point.
Superintendent Jean Peterson formulated a Project Oversight Committee comprised of Jennifer Sornson (Junior-Senior High School Principal), Lynnette Engel (District Finance Director), Brian Eddy and Eric Smith (Board members appointed by the Board to oversee the Project), Rob Robinson (Chairman of the Build for the Future Finance Committee), Keith Donnelly and Susie Toale (Build for the Future Community Connections Co-Chairs who will serve as liaisons to the community).
October 4, 2011: Superintendent Peterson and Board members Eddy and Smith travelled to LaCrosse, Wisconsin to meet with HSR’s architectural team. HSR’s most experienced engineers and architects, who have worked on several educational facilities, met with the District reps. HSR presented their first draft of the more detailed design plans. Multiple topics were discussed and District reps shared with HSR a list of feedback the Build for the Future Committee had obtained from the community during the bond vote, such as site layout, sloped roof, materials being used, energy efficiency options and use of in-kind labor. HSR and the District representatives then scheduled the first design input meeting with the Junior – Senior High School certified staff for October 13, 2011.
October 6, 2011: HSR sent updated floor plans to Superintendent Peterson who reviewed the plans with Principal Sornson. A few modifications were requested and updated floor plans were sent to Superintendent Peterson on October 11, 2011.October 13, 2011: Brad Simonson, Gene Pankonien, and Bob Freerks from HSR travelled to Independence to meet with every member of the Junior – Senior High School certified staff. Superintendent Peterson, Principal Sornson and Board Reps Eddy and Smith participated in the full day of meetings, which commenced at 8:30 AM and finished at 5:30 PM. Over 60 certified staff members were provided an opportunity to give input and feedback over the 15 sessions, each 30 minutes in length. Every member of the secondary staff, secondary administration and coaches were asked for feedback in half hour sessions. All those in attendance provided insightful input and feedback on the design of the facility, including improved layout of classrooms, common areas, student locker area, administration offices, media center, fine arts and athletic areas. One change in particular that was discussed was flipping the layout of the building. This would put the academic wings to the South and the fine arts / athletic wings to the North. The general layout will remain the same, but some of the key benefits to flipping the layout of the building are as follows:
- Places academic wing on the South side away from the new access road to provide a quieter setting for learning;
- Provides greater opportunities for energy conservation with the academic wing facing southern exposure.
- Places the fine arts and athletic wings to the North which provides easier access to future athletic fields along the North of the 92 acres.
- Provides direct access off new access road to Receiving Area for kitchen and fine arts department.
- Allows adequate space for future expansion of academic wings to the South.
Cognizant of the need to stay within the project budget of $27.5 M, HSR will now start making quite a few revisions to the floor plans based on all the input and feedback received from certified staff on October 13, 2011. HSR intends to have updated floor plan ready for review in the 7 – 10 days, at which time a second round of meetings will be scheduled with staff. The updated floor plans will be posted for community viewing on this website at that time.
Role of the Project Oversight CommitteeThe Project Oversight Committee’s primary objectives are as follows: 1) review all proposed design changes to ensure the estimated project cost stays within budget; 2) ensure that design plans remain consistent with the conceptual plans presented to the public as part of the bond approval; 3) assist in the communication of updates to the community; and 4) provide a recommendation to the School Board on approval of the final design prior to bid letting in early 2012.
Other Project Updates
- HSR, under the direction of the District, solicited and obtained several bids for a Geo-Technical Engineering Report for the proposed site along Iowa Avenue. The soil samples will provide necessary details on the condition of the subsoil, which is an important but routine step to ensure proper design of the facility. We will be obtaining over 30 boring samples. The District selected Terracon, who was the low bidder at $11,400. Terracon will commence the soil sample tests soon after removal of the crops on the 92 acres. HSR anticipates to have the soil sample report by the end of November 2011.
- HSR, under the direction of the District, will be soliciting several bids for Soil Conductivity Test Wells for evaluation of a potential geo-thermal well field design. This report will be useful in determining the size and type of the well field design. The bids requests are being sent out October 14, 2011 with bids due back in late October.
- The District is researching potential options and a solution for the ICN (Iowa Communications Network) room located in the basement of the existing Junior – Senior High School. A meeting has been held with representatives of various utility companies and ICN to evaluate various options. The District is also exploring potential options for the existing Junior – Senior High School taking into consideration the feedback obtained on the potential relocation of the ICN room.
- October – November 2011: Prepare floor plan design and layout of 92 acre site, which will be subject to review and approval of the School Board.
- November – January 2012: Design development phase, which will be subject to review and approval of the School Board.
- January 2012 – March 2012: Prepare Final Bid Letting documents, which will be subject to review and approval of the School Board.
- March 2012: Bid letting projected to take place.
- April 2012: School Board will open all bids and select the winning bidder for the project.
- May 2012: Groundbreaking for the New Junior – Senior High School.
- August 2013: Grand Opening of the New Junior – Senior High School.