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Architect in place, Crestview design work to begin in earnest

NEW WATERFORD — Crestview’s board of education took the next steps toward a new facility at a special meeting on Thursday, hiring Holabird & Root and BSHM to provide the early plans for the facility.

In a discussion led by Eric Risinger of Holabird and Root, the board saw some of the preliminary drawings the firm has developed after hearing what the board and others in the community are looking for in the next facility for Crestview schools.

Risinger and others in his group met with teachers and other staff members during the day on Thursday. They have also been on tours of other recently constructed schools with the building committee, teachers and others as they gathered information, ideas Crestview might want to implement into its plans.

On Thursday night the board and a few members of the community met with the architects to talk about the pod concepts, where students would have both spaces to share and collaborate with other students in the same grades or science classes, as well as classroom space where individual lessons can be taught. Additionally, it was noted there would be different designs for different age levels. What works as a collaborative space for kindergarten students would not work as well for high school students, who may need more quiet, smaller rooms to work in small groups.

Classroom spaces will be at least 900 square feet, much larger than the classrooms in the current middle school. The room for the pods will come from having fewer hallways between classrooms.

Besides diverse spaces, Risinger talked about furniture that can be flexible, movable partitions, white boards and the ability to integrate technology throughout the area. Workspaces should utilize natural daylight and have good lighting. The areas should have good acoustics to keep students engaged in the lessons.

At the same time it was emphasized that safety is very important. There will be fewer entrances to the building and Superintendent Matthew Manley said the pods can be locked down with the push of a button.

While no decision has been made how the wings would be divided, some suggestions include having seventh and eighth grade students near the high school so they can begin taking advantage of a high school level algebra class or early planning toward college or vocational training.

Board members and those in attendance asked questions about several aspects of the project. For instance, when will the soil testing begin, which is soon to come now that the contract has been awarded. The weight room and the performing arts center will remain, but will not be immediately connected to the new building so they do not cost the board OSFC space. The need for space is on the architects’ radar for additional storage for teachers and a home for the growing wrestling program.

Dan Hill said in talking to some of the teachers earlier in the day one of them remarked that it is great that the building is being planned around the students’ and teacher’s academic needs instead of trying to fit those needs into a current space.

The architects also went over the timeline, the program of requirements and schematic designing phases that will continue from now through June. The next phase of design and development will continue in July through September and construction documents will be obtained in October through November. The bidding and permitting will begin in December and January 2021. Finally, construction will begin in February 2021 and continue through May when the building should be completed.

Risinger said they should be ready to have community meetings to share more finalized ideas for the project in March.

The cost of the contract with the design services for the first two phases is $838,639, which includes the base work, soil testing and other reimbursements. The overall cost of the project is $43 million.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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