Site Plan Development
On December 20, 2011, HSR Associates attended the School Board meeting to present the proposed location of the new facility on the 92 acres. The Board gave HSR direction to proceed with finalizing the draft site plan with the facility facing West, approximately 600 feet from Iowa Ave. One improvement that has been made is shifting the location of the south parking lot entrance to the center of the parking lot. The benefits of this change were that it: 1) creates a main entrance into the school with a focal point on the front entrance of the building; 2) moves the southern entrance to the new school farther away from the main entrance into MHI; and 3) reduces the length of the third lane (blow by lane) on Iowa Ave. On January 24, 2012, HSR and District Reps met with Terracon and the Civil Engineer to discuss the conditions of the soil. Discussion was held regarding the possibility of starting some preliminary earth work in early March 2012 to drain water from the site, preparing the site and soils to be a construction site and a long-term building site for the new school building. Terracon informed us that their final report with their recommendations on proper soil and site preparation will be finalized by the end of this week. This will then allow the Civil Engineer to finalize the Site Plan for Board approval within approximately three weeks. HSR will then submit the Storm Water Installation Permit for approval to the DNR, which will allow us to proceed with preparing the site for construction and bidding.
The Board also discussed the access road across the 92 acres during their early January 2012 work session. The Board decided to have the access road end behind the new school instead of continuing the road all the way across the 92 acres. A couple of the advantages to this decision were: 1) improves safety by eliminating a service / access road connecting to the parking lot at West Elementary, and 2) preserves more farm land which can be used to generate revenue for the District. The Board did agree to incorporate a biking / walking trail from the new facility to the West Elementary building. The trail will hook into the Liberty Trail, run in front of the new JR / SR high school, then wrap around the North property line of the 92 acres, East to the West Elementary building and football field.
|A copy of the most current site plan showing what the 92 acres will look like in the fall of 2013 is shown here.|
HSR, the District representatives and staff continue to develop and finalize the facility and interior room layouts. HSR is now working with the District to determine the detailed specifications for bidding. Substantial progress was made on January 24, 2012 when HSR met with the District reps to determine which aspects of the project would be included in the general bid package vs. bid separately for potential cost savings.
Substantial progress has also been made with the exterior design of the facility. One improvement that has been developed is the incorporation of an arched, translucent skylight system over the "main street" area. The “main street” area is the common area that runs down the center of the building. The skylight system will bring more natural lighting into the building. A dark maroon / burgundy brick will be utilized on the exterior. Tan brick colors will be used to accent the maroon / burgundy color. The most current renderings of the exterior design are shown below.
On January 11, 2012, Superintendent Peterson and Board members Eddy and Smith traveled to LaCrosse to meet with HSR to discuss interior design ideas and considerations. We met with two interior design specialists at HSR who provided their initial thoughts on how to incorporate the school colors into the facility, the type of flooring to be used, and the exterior appearance. A key consideration for interior selection is cost of installation versus cost of maintenance. We want to avoid extra maintenance costs and time when we could select a low-maintenance option now. Some images of the preliminary interior design of the "main street" area inside the common area of the building are shown below:
Energy Efficiency Considerations
HSR has made several improvements to the design of the facility to maximize energy efficiency. In addition, the geo-technical report from A-One Geothermal is expected to be finalized this week. HSR is working with the Wisconsin Energy Center who is analyzing the design of the facility for energy efficiency improvements. Their recommendations are expected in the new few weeks. HSR and the Board is also working on their evaluation of whether to include an alternative bid to make the facility 100% geo-thermal. The primary factors the Board will be considering when making a decision on the geo-thermal system are: 1) the anticipated payback on investment based on the Build for the Future Energy Committee's analysis; and 2) whether the geo-thermal system can be afforded within the project budget, even if the payback on geo-thermal is reasonable. On January 24, 2012, we discussed the potential of an open-loop ground water sourced geo-thermal system that has been installed in several schools in our region in the past few years. The open loop system could provide the same capabilities of a closed loop system at substantially reduced installation cost. HSR will explore the open-loop ground water sourced geo-thermal system over the next few weeks.
The Build for the Future Fundraising Committee has made incredible progress with the $6,000,000 "Bridging the Gap" fundraising campaign. At Saturday night's Mustang Foundation banquet, Rob Robinson (Chairman of the Fundraising Committee) reported that they have raised approximately $4.75 M to date! Any savings from in-kind donations or funds from FEMA for the SAFE ROOM are not included in this figure. For more on how to make your pledge to this project, please visit the Mustang Foundation website or contact Rob Robinson today at Rob.Robinson@bankiowa or 319-334-7181.
FEMA Grant for SAFE Room
The District, with the assistance of HSR Associates and INRCOG, submitted the SAFE ROOM grant application in December. The grant has cleared the State of Iowa's review process, and is now under final review by FEMA. Our INRCOG representative estimated that FEMA could make a decision in about 60 days. The final grant application requested approximately $800,000. The final determination was to make the four locker rooms the SAFE ROOM. It provides the best opportunity for cost savings and eliminated some additional issues related to having the auditorium be the SAFE ROOM.
Preliminary In-Kind Projects
During December 2011, a couple of volunteers removed some trees and the old fence line along the West property line. Special thanks to John Behan for his labor, and Lisa Duffy (the current farm tenant) for granting the District permission to start preliminary work on this project prior to March 1, 2012.
During the bond campaign, the estimated bid letting date was February 2012, with bids to be opened in March, and ground breaking in April 2012. During the recent trip to HSR, HSR indicated the end of March 2012 for sending out bid documents, with bids opened in the middle of April 2012 and ground breaking in early May 2012. The District representatives have requested that the original timeline be followed if possible to strive for completion of the project by August 2013 as originally planned. As a result, substantial progress has been made the past few weeks. Several HSR representatives spent the day in Independence on Tuesday, January 24th to meet with District representatives and staff to continue to make various decisions on the design of the facility and site plan development.
Long Term Site Plan
The Board held a work session on January 5, 2012 to review the long-term facility plan for the 92 acres. Discussion was held on future needs, such as a new bus barn, tennis courts, soccer fields and baseball / softball fields. The school district and board remain focused on the new building and the site development required to support the new Junior/Senior high school building. Funds from the 2011 General Obligation Bond will be spent only on the new JR / SR High School, and not on these future needs. The Board will have another work session in the future to discuss the SILO funding availability for future development of the 92 acres.
If you have any questions or feedback on this project, contact Jean Peterson, Brian Eddy or Eric Smith.