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Plans presented for high school remodeling project

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Members of the Gettysburg school board and building committee met on Nov. 12 at the elementary school library with Scott Sikkink and Dean Marske from HKG Architects in Aberdeen.
A follow up presentation to the October meeting was given, providing information on options for remodeling the 90 year old high school building.
Marske told the board that they are working on Phase One, which is basically doing an analysis of the existing school. There was a report that was originally done in 2009 and has now been updated.
The report was broken down into two options — life safety, which would bring it up to code in order to get by, and the second option would update the building which would move it forward several years, which, he said, adds considerably to the cost.
It was explained to the group that life safety is health, safety, and welfare, which is a basic requirement, but does not upgrade piping for water and sewer. It basically gives the school building the elevator, provides a sprinkler system, fire alarms, emergency lighting, and some security. The estimated cost for that is just short of a million dollars.
The second option, which is a complete update to remodel the building, includes improvements to the exterior shell, replacing the windows with smaller windows, opening all the walls, taking plumbing out and replacing it, re-sheetrock, and insulate where it can be done. He added that it also includes geothermal heat, which is highly recommended. He explained that the original plan called for two elevators at a cost of around $225,000 each, however, he now believes that the project could get by with just one  five-stop elevator at a cost of $285,000. The plan also included updated rest rooms for ADA compliance. The proposed cost increased, including a contingency, to $4,752,000.
He also reminded the board that, with the hurricane on the east coast, construction items like sheet rock and steel will start increasing in cost.
The numbers provided were put together without the input of the school staff or administration, and once those professional opinions are included there could be some changes to the estimate.
In order to do just the basic life safety improvements to the existing building, the project could be done during the summertime. That would not include any plumbing updates or window replacement.
The remodeling work could not be completed during the summer break and it would be necessary to find other classrooms for the students, which would basically displace them during the school year.
It was asked if there is a remodeling option that could fall in between the two described, which would do the life safety improvements plus some other improvements. Marske said that while the building has new boilers in place, they are still working with an old system and original piping, so starting the plumbing project would need a complete replacement. He also cautioned, “When you open up the walls, it’s going to be an eye opener.” He said that comparison need to be made regarding efficiency between remodeling and new construction. “You still have an old, three story building versus a newer one on one level,” he said.
He added that they are basically doing a cost comparison and not giving a design. “We are trying to compare apples to apples as far as what is it going to cost us to build new versus remodeling, and that’s when the work starts, after that,” said Marske. “We’re trying to give this board the option and the best information to move forward.”
It was stressed by the board that they need to understand and communicate the options of fixing up the old building, then look at various levels of a new school building, with the lowest level being the square footage needed. “We just need to look at the various tiers of the project because the numbers get pretty high, pretty fast,” said board member Matt Cronin.
The group also discussed options regarding a community center included within the project, the possibility of a shared community library, and where would be the best location for new construction in relationship to other parts of the school, or aesthetically for the community.
The architects will return on Dec. 10 to present more information during a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the school multipurpose room. The presentation will include costs to the taxpayers.
In other business, a letter of resignation from board member Tom Fairbanks was read at the meeting. There are two and a half years left on his term, and a successor will be appointed to complete his term.
New home school applications for a freshman and sophomore were received by the board.
A contract was approved for Tylee Norman who will begin teaching the ag program at the beginning of 2013. Several coaching contracts were also approved.
Principal Wendy Smith noted that a parent from Deubrook called the school to compliment the Potter County Battler football team on their terrific behavior and sportsmanship. Superintendent Tim Hagedorn added that he received an email from one of the referees who extended compliments with the way the team, coaching staff, and fans acted during the overtime playoff game.
Minutes from the meeting are published on page 17 of the News.
–Molly McRoberts

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