Archive for Thursday, December 27, 2001

Changes in school design reflect desire of staff, study of land topography

December 27, 2001

Before voters went to the polls to vote on a new high school, architects who designed the building kept reassuring them it was just a general idea.

The architects backed up that assertion Dec. 19.

Jim French and others from the DLR Group shared changes from the original schematic design with the Eudora school board.

The signature courtyard and circular concept remained the same. But rooms were moved to accommodate the needs of the high school staff, and the site plan was changed to better suit the topography of the land.

"Elevations are a general idea of how the building might look," French said of the drawings, which showed the outside of the building from different angles. Classrooms are still shown without windows, he said, because planners want to see how teachers would to use the space in their room before deciding an appropriate place for the windows.

Changes to the site plan mean moving the site for the school so that the building doesn't sit on low, hard-to-drain ground. The main driveway onto the campus was moved, and bus and car drop-off traffic will be separated as well. A back entrance/exit was added to lighten the load on the main driveway and Church Street.

Locker rooms were moved, and the gym area is now closer to where athletes would compete. That also means, however, that room for a new or expanded gym is reduced.

The 2-D and 3-D art rooms were moved to the section with the academic classrooms near the journalism room.

"I think this is a positive change because journalism is going to be very high-tech," French said.

When journalism students aren't using their computers, the art classes could use them for computer-aided design.

Some curved walls were also squared off, making the design more "builder friendly."

"The contractors are going to like this," French said, "and that's going to make the budget a little lower."

The hallways could also accommodate locker "bays," or areas of lockers several rows thick. One problem with the hallways, French said, is that the curved design doesn't allow for maximum supervision because a teacher, administrator of staff person couldn't see all the way down the corridor.

French also talked about creating a canopy for the administrative entrance

"We want to see how this plan works related to a general concept," he said.

Right now, the building is estimated to cost about $121 per square foot, including furniture. Board member Joe Pyle said he spoke with an assistant superintendent in the Goddard school district near Wichita and heard its new building cost $85 per square foot. Pyle said the building was quite impressive, and included details like wrought iron around the football stadium.

Pyle said he just wanted to make sure the taxpayers of Eudora were getting the best deal for their money.

Any difference in price, French said, was probably because of a difference in the markets of Eudora and Goddard. Because Eudora is near wealthy Johnson County, workers demand a higher salary than they might near Wichita. Moreover, the bidding was probably done a year or more ago in a different market climate.

That's why it's important to get bids out as soon as possible, French said.

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