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School board approves extended roof plan for new building

AN ARCHITECTUAL DEPICTION of the proposed new multi-purpose building on the Kingswood campus. Work on the building is expected to begin in the fall. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
June 25, 2009
WOLFEBORO — The Governor Wentworth Regional School Board scheduled an impromptu meeting last Monday evening, June 15, in order to review the proposed plans for the new multi-purpose building.

With the Building and Maintenance Committee on hand, Superintendent Jack Robertson once again reviewed the aesthetics of the building and its many attributes, both inside and out. Equipped with a downloadable, interactive image of the building's exterior layout, Robertson was able to display the building from all angles giving insight to the reasons behind different structural features. With a desire to reach "closure regarding the conceptual design" of Phase I of the project, the committee would like to be able to recommend a final plan to the board for approval soon so that CMK Architects can then go out to bid.

While most members seemed content with the building plans, the issue presented to the board this evening was the logistics of constructing an extended ceiling over the stage area in the auditorium. This elevated space would provide storage, allowing large sets to be pulled up and out of view of audience members.

In an effort to incorporate and fairly consider all reasonable recommendations that came before the committee, the group had initially researched the idea of installing a Fly Tower, a "system of ropes, counterweights, pulleys, and other such tools within a theatre designed to allow a technical crew to quickly move set pieces, lights, and microphones on and off stage by 'flying' them in from a large opening above the stage." After speaking with both the architects and structural engineers, it was determined that a true fly tower would cost approximately $450,000, and thus the idea was abandoned.

With a fly tower out of the question, the committee had looked into creating an elevated ceiling above the stage, again for increased functionality and storage space for scenery. After reviewing this idea with CMK Architects and the structural engineer, they estimated the additional cost to be approximately $80,000. The $80,000 would cover the large piece of steel (at the current price for steel) that would be needed to construct the elevated roof. The cost, though significantly lower than a true fly tower, was still a concern for some members of the committee and no decision could be reached on whether they should keep the extended roof for its benefits or get rid of it for its cost.

As a solution, CMK proposed that two plans be created by the structural engineer one bid including the extended roof and an alternate bid without. The cost for having the structural engineer create design work for two separate roof systems would be an additional $5,000.

Board Chair James Rines, who is also a member of the Building and Maintenance Committee, commented that it would not be wise to build a building where the scenery can't be stored. He suggested the $5,000 be put into the project and not used on a second design. Member Jack Widmer added that "the public is expecting a practical and usable" building and the board would be "shortsighted" to cut back in this area. Member Diane Drelick gave her view that the committee should focus on the classrooms and what is in them because she doesn't want Phase II of the project to be shortchanged. Rines retorted that the roof expansion would be comparable to the existing space in the high school today as well as other schools. Member James Manning said that he was "concerned about the long term loss" of erecting the building without the extra space. He suggested that if the plans do not provide for a venue that can function well, the rate of return would decline. He was in favor of doing the structural elements now, that can't be so easily added on later, and worry about the finish materials later. Member Stacy Trites motioned that the committee move forward with a single building plan, including the additional ceiling space. The motion passed.

In other news, board and committee member Ernie Brown said that CMK had received "four estimates for doing six test borings for the geothermal system" which will heat and cool the buildings. The committee accepted the lowest bid of $3,700.

Also included in Brown's notes of that meeting, which he passed out for the board's review, was that CMK and the SAU would be working together to "develop the bid list of approved contractors" for phase one of the project. The Committee is also seeking applicants to fill the Clerk of Works position for the duration of the project. Hired by the district, the Clerk of Works acts as the go between for the district, CMK Architects and the contractors, representing the district for quality control according to the design specifications. The Committee will be interviewing qualified candidates.

In preparation for phase two of the project, Robertson spoke of ongoing negotiations with Office Environments of New England. If an agreeable cost can be decided on, the company would set up two model classrooms of the future for the teachers to rotate through, throughout the next school year, the purpose being "to help the school board decide whether more of these types of classrooms will be integrated into the phase two process." These new age classrooms offer technology that enhances the learning environment by providing a center station for teaching, pivoting chairs, digital learning, and the use of SMART Boards as well as other teaching equipment. Robertson added that though the technology is exciting, what's most important is how "they enhance student achievement."

The Building and Maintenance Committee will continue to meet throughout the summer every other Wednesday afternoon, at 4 p.m. at the SAU office in Wolfeboro. The next meeting is Wednesday, June 24.

Heather Terragni can be reached at 569-3126 or hterragni@salmonpress.com

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