Koch Hazard reviews updating options with school board

Dawn Rye | Writer

During last week’s Parker School Board meeting the administration agreed they still have several questions regarding Koch Hazard’s facility review.

Architect Keith Thompson explained the growth chart is based on two variables with a three percent growth over the last 10 years. He noted after reviewing that number with the staff they believed 1.5 percent growth in 10 years would be more accurate. 

Board member Erin Anderson asked does growth take into account a potential consolidation? 

Thompson said to the best of his knowledge, yes, it does consider that option. He noted it would be based on districts and how many students would come to Parker. 

Thompson said the major facility decisions were based on space, furniture and technology. He said it also includes more storage and more space in the classrooms. He noted a big part of the study was reviewing space by space on how classrooms and educational spaces are being used. Thompson explained the elementary school is sitting well for a typical classroom and special education appears to be maxed out with every space being used. He noted sometimes there is a reasonable number of students, however, there has been some reorganization with trying to expand.

He explained the first option has two separate classroom additions; one to the east and one to the north with two or three rooms provided. Those additional projects could be done at one time or separately. He noted the east addition in the elementary section would be the least concerning with capacity space because they are doing ok. On the north, there is a nice spot in between junior high and high school that might be more flexible. Thompson said the largest underused area on the campus is in the southwest corner. He commented there is room for two levels of classrooms, and this option is less efficient because it would wrap around the geometry of the existing building. It would block a lot of interior light in the 1912 building. He explained it does help address some of the long hallways on the north and east side from 1912 that raise a security concern. Thompson said they would create new mechanical and electrical space. 

He noted the less popular option would be to tear down the 1912 building; however, they had to look at the efficiency and the challenges. He said if they tore down the 1912 building it would place the auxiliary gym adjacent to the larger gym.

Thompson commented if the board would choose to start with a clean slate, all spaces would meet current standards and be more cost-efficient. 

He explained they bid a school project a few years ago that was $170 per square foot, costing around $25 million for a new school of this size. Thompson said the existing building’s ongoing repairs and upgrades would cost over $3 million. He explained the options to include a three classroom addition is $180 per square foot, two classroom additions at $185 per square foot, or gym/four classrooms at $200 per square foot. 

Superintendent Donavan DeBoer asked if there was a discussion with colleagues about making the smaller gym friendlier for school plays and theater? 

Thompson said they didn’t discuss seating, however, he could follow up and get some information. 

Board member Greg Simmermon asked with option c, was it just tearing down the 1912 addition and leaving the auxiliary gym there? 

Thompson said the auxiliary gym would stay while the 1912 building would be torn down. He explained if the board wanted to start a project in 2020 it would start with the design aspect and the preliminary schedule. 

Anderson asked based on the schedule and if the board delays a year, how much would the cost increase? 

Thompson said three percent is an average. 

Board member Ransom Jones asked with the $170 per square foot, is it based off of the options the board chooses or variable depending?

Thompson said the $170 is working with the all-new option and on a smaller scale and working with existing buildings as it would go up. 

“The best bang for the buck, I suppose would be all new because of the few issues to run into. But we went up to $200 in some of the detail with workingwith the existing school,” commented Thompson. 

Board member Brett Olson asked if the board would choose to build a new school, where would it go? 

Thompson said a new school requires 20-30 acres. 

Jones noted when he has had lunch with his daughter the cafeteria is incredibly over-utilized. He said in the study it is at 33 percent under capacity. 

Thompson commented that the number was skewed a little bit because the morning and afternoon schedules are the busiest times of the day. 

Anderson said that was a good point because if the school open enroll more students, how will the school accommodate that issue? 

Jones noted the community would be the catalyst in this project with the design and the change. He said allowing them to understand why the board is choosing ‘X’ option would be incredibly important, showing the community they are choosing the best option for their school district.

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