May 6, 2014

New high school exterior design changes

By Stephanie Norman
Farmer Staff Writer

The McKenzie County School District No. 1 is taking one step at a time toward going vertical with the new high school.
According to Superintendent Steve Holen, soil testing continues on the site and a first bid package is expected to be released this week for the needed earth work.
JLG Architects are looking to finalize decisions regarding the color palate and the exterior design. At last week’s school board meeting, Jeff Steiner, JLG Architect, said the exterior of the building will feature precast concrete, metal and a lot of glass windows.
Some of the precast concrete would appear as brick, but will not cost as much money. And some will have the appearance of limestone.
“Using precast concrete will be a cost savings in labor,” Steiner said. “You won’t see a mason laying one brick at a time. It’s nice to add texture to the building – this way will just be more cost-effective.”
And essentially, the precast concrete will still look like brick.
Not the whole building will look like this though. Some of the precast concrete will look like large limestone slabs – adding a different texture. Overall, the exterior building design is very modern.
Steiner presented the school board with samples of the materials to be used and they approved to move forward.
For the most part, the current designs represent a pretty good picture of what the final high school building should look like, Steiner said. But, there may be a little less glass used.
“Overall, the plans will not change significantly,” Steiner said.
Ted Rozeboom, JLG Architect, said, “The layout of the plaza out front and the walkway by the stadium may change.”
The school board noted that they would like to see an outdoor plaza near the cafeteria. Rozeboom said that was negotiable and most likely feasible.
The gymnasium lighting was also a hot topic between the school board and architects.
As the plans show currently, the gymnasium has a significant amount of lighting coming in from the north side of the building.
“The vast majority of the time, gyms are used for physical education,” Rozeboom said. “No natural lighting feels bleak. Physical education benefits from having natural lighting. It offers a sense of warmth.”
Some individuals expressed that there may be too much lighting in the gym when there are basketball or volleyball games. But, with the lighting coming in from the north, they think it may be alright because at no point will it be direct sunlight.
Other than minor details here and there, the high school planning and construction is coming along.
“A ground-breaking ceremony will likely occur in early June,” Holen said. “By mid-June, significant activity will be occurring at the site.”