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Local News

July 12, 2012

School board approves DHS renovation schematic design

DUNCAN — The Duncan Board of Education liked the direction PBK Architect has taken with the design of the Duncan High School renovation, and the members are ready to see how the schematic design will develop.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, the board approved the schematic design, which gave the board members and idea of what direction the design would take, although it will continue to develop. Ron Bailey, with PBK, gave a presentation about the high school renovation project.

Bailey said the high school would look like a new building, not a building that has been bandaged to extend its life.

This project was the basis for a $19.03 million bond issue Duncan residents approved Feb. 14.

“I like the direction it’s going,” Lisa Thomas, board member, said.

Toward the end of June, PBK met with various community members and leaders, school district personnel, and school administration for three days to determine what direction the project should take.

In the three-day workshop, the group discussed strengths, weaknesses and needs of the high school. It also gave each person an opportunity to tell what they’d like to see in the renovated high school.

Bailey said natural light was one thing people wanted to see more of in the school. With the campus being an open floor plan, where students have to walk outside at times to switch classes, safety was one of the biggest concerns.

Some of the things the architecture company wants to do with the project is to possibly infuses it as a place of refuge, set up a ninth-grade center, establish a commons area, create a grand entrance, use a lot of glass to allow for natural light, stick with the basic brick and masonry in the construction, and find ways for classes to use the outside more.

When it comes to the ninth-grade center, PBK plans to reconfigure the classroom layout in the West Building.

Once classrooms have been divided up more evenly, the bottom floor of the West Building could become the ninth-grade center. The top floor could be use for storage and future expansion.

All other grades would be in the Main Building.

The bond issue will only cover renovations to the Main Building and the West Building.

There will be no renovations to the auditorium or the Science Building.

Superintendent Sherry Labyer said the process will take a while. Construction will actually begin in March 2013, and the project could be finished by March 2015.

“It’s very important that we’re thoughtful through this process,” Labyer said. “Look how long it took us to get that money. We want to do it right.”

Bailey said there is a master schedule that has been set up for the project. As of Tuesday, everything was right on track.

Labyer said the project is a large undertaking, but will better suit the needs of the students and the teachers. Although work will have to be done while the students are on campus, the idea is to avoid inconvenience the students and teachers as much as possible.

“We will be sensitive to the teachers’ needs, the students’ needs and the community needs,” Labyer said.

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