School Board No. Two gets a sneak peek at LHS remodel

The Big Horn County School District No. Two Board of Trustees was treated to a simulated walk-through of Lovell High School’s upcoming renovation. The tour, or “fly by” digital presentation as it was called, was conducted by architects from Plan One Architects as part of a update to the board regarding the remodel, which is scheduled to begin in June.

Architects Dan Odasz and Dave Wellington made the presentation noting that the plans are now ready to be submitted to the state’s “value engineering” committee for final approval.

“We’re at the end of one long road and ready to jump on to another one with our plans and specs 99 percent done and ready to submit to the state,” said Odasz. “We are ready to submit for final approval after working hard with Dan Coe and and all the staff and with board comments incorporated in the plans.”

Odasz noted that the budget for the project has increased due to successful efforts by Coe to secure additional funds from the state for the project.

“The governor signed a bill on March 13 which took the total budget from $5.5 million to $9.7 million and so we’ve gone through the budget to make sure we have all of the different categories adequately funded,” explained Odasz. “The plan is for three projects. Basically, it’s for the full renovation of the interior, a second site work package and for the maintainance shop building. In addition to those, there is a line item in the budget for furniture and equipment and a pretty hefty contingency of 5 percent on all of the projects, so I think we’re being very conservative in our estimating at this point.”

Odasz also noted that his firm had a “professional cost estimator” look over the budget to confirm that adequate funds were available to take the project through to completion.

“I think we have everything covered and it balanced out right at $9.7 million,” said Odasz. “I think we’re doing quite well on the budget.”

Wellington reviewed the upcoming three phases of the project with the board noting that, due to time constraints, certain phases must be done during the summer months to avoid disruption to classroom activities.

The initial phase, scheduled to take place this summer, includes a complete “gutting” and remodeling of school’s vocational wing and the high school administration area.

“Due to the time constraints of the summer and needing the asbestos abatement completed, which will start on June 1 and run through June 18 before we can get a contractor on the project, we’ve subdivided the phases and put priorities to the various phases,” explained Wellington. “Obviously, the hub of the school is the administration area and we’ve made this a high priority. The vocational area is the second priority. All of this is to be done this coming year and we are looking to get it started right after we get the asbestos removal done. This is going to be intense because it is a complete gut and renovation of the entire space.”

The next phase includes creating a multi-purpose room in the current music area and an adjacent kitchen area.

“This is an area that we will start once phase one is completed (administration and vocational areas),” said Wellington. “Obviously, we’re not going to start that until the previous work is done because we are looking at time constraints and places to relocate students if it should run over. We’re hoping it doesn’t, but if it does we have back-up plans for all of these areas, where people can go so we are not interfering with the functioning of the school.”

The final phase includes exterior site work to reroute traffic. Wellington said he expects the project to be done by the end of next year (2014) and he said he hopes to have everything moving on schedule.

“It’s basically like a summer, a year, and a summer to complete,” added Odasz. “The summer months are the most critical for us. The shop building will go up, as soon we can get it drawn up, and the site work package will also be bid up and will take place the second summer. So, all three of those will take place in the same time frame. So, it’s going to be real busy around here, you’re going to be impacted and there’s going to be scheduling and things like that to work with but hopefully it’s all for the best. We’ll try to get it done in a precise period of time and get out of your hair after that.”

Wellington noted that the firm has met with all of the staff at the school, with the board’s building committee and with Coe, and the final plan is based on input from those meetings.

“We do have the final plan ready to go to the state for their review,” said Wellington.

The architects gave the board a 3-D view of the completed remodel in the form of a digital presentation, showing the expanded foyer as a new focal point at the entrance to the school, a kitchen where students can eat and a multi-purpose room that can be used as both a cafeteria and as a venue for performing arts and other group activities.

“It’s going to have a very high tech look,” explained Odasz. “It’s going to be, I think, pretty crisp and pretty sharp when you come in that lobby and enter the multi-purpose room. The nice thing about the supplemental funding is that it allows us to do this remodel right and we really didn’t have to cut back or cut corners. Also, as we go into this final review with the state, we go in on budget, so there is no incentive for them to really start cutting us back.”

In other matters, a committee of three teachers, including Devon Parks, Annette Ellis and Aryn Tippetts, presented their recommendation for new math textbooks to be used in the district. The three went to great lengths to explain their choice, which came from months of reviewing various systems available. The board approved their recommendation.

The board also acknowledged numerous students for various awards and accomplishments and heard a brief report on students’ activities presented by Chelby Lewis on behalf of the student council.

The board then took an executive session to discuss personnel matters. Afterward, the board accepted resignations from staff members Ray Candelaria, Doug Harsh, Doug Hazen (teacher position), Pat Woodward, Kix Carter and Mike Greenlee and approved 2013-14 contracts for certified staff as per the recommendations from Supt. Coe.


By Patti Carpenter