New HS on track for bidding next month

The south entrance, which will be students’ primary entrance. The gym is on the left.

Bid documents for the new Greene County High School and regional career academy will be available Jan. 17, according to school board member Sam Harding, a member of the district facilities committee.

Harding, Steve Karber and John McConnell have spent countless hours working with OPN Architects and school administrators and staff to bring the project to within the budget. Harding said they’re “close to budget,” now, with only a little more work to do.

The commons area, looking from north (visitor entrance) to south. The gymnasium is on the left; the auditorium is on the right. | OPN Architects

Samples of interior materials were available at the board’s Dec. 19 meeting, as were renderings of the interior. The décor will be light grey with shades of draker grey and black with red as an accent. The school as it’s planned has few frills but much more space for small groups to gather for collaboration than students have now.

The “learning stairs” in the two-story classroom portion. Notice the spaces for collaboration on both levels. | OPN Architects

Karber has promoted installing geothermal heating and cooling, hoping to save energy money. He reported at the meeting that natural gas is inexpensive enough that the payback on a geothermal system is too long to be practical. At the current cost of natural gas, the electricity to run heat pumps in the winter would cost more than gas. The building will be heated and cooled using natural gas and electricity. There’s a possibility solar panels may be added on the roof or a small solar array will be installed in the future.

Board member Steve Fisher chided the committee for not releasing more information during the planning process. Harding said that was intentional until the project was brought down to fit the budget. “It’s too hard to tell people you’re going to have something and then not have it in the end,” Harding said. “It’s easier to wait till you know exactly what you can do.”

The board also discussed naming rights for portions of the building. At the firm encouragement of Harding and Karber, naming rights will not be granted for any portion of the building. However, there may be one or more donor plaques recognizing contributions to the school.

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