Archive for Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Metal siding could help with price tag of new school

March 16, 2005

Plans for Tonganoxie's future middle school are moving along.

At Monday night's school board meeting, DLR architect Andy Anderson showed preliminary plans for the middle school's exterior.

Details include brown split-faced masonry blocks that resemble stone. The rows of blocks cover the lower part of the wall, running from the ground to about four feet in height.

The blocks will be bordered with bricks of a darker shade that will match the color of the trim around the windows. Above the blocks, parchment-colored metal panels will cover the rest of the wall.

"We picked a metal siding for its durability more than anything," Anderson told board members.

Anderson, and Kris Roberts, who is the project's construction manager, said it's also more cost-effective to use metal panels than to use blocks on the entire wall.

Richard Dean asked how much cost difference there would be. But because the planning is still in the early stages, Roberts said the estimate is not complete.

"At the same time, we're also juggling some items that are wanted and needed in the schools," Roberts said. "... What we're working on is trying to make the numbers work -- make the space work."

Anderson agreed.

"Everybody would love to have a brick or masonry building, but given the budgets we're trying to hit, this was a much better solution," Anderson said.

He explained the blocks, which are four inches thick, are a veneer.

Board member Ron Moore said durability is important.

"I think long life's important to us," Moore said. "Because you don't want to kill yourselves in future years in maintenance costs and replacements."

Tonganoxie Elementary School assistant principal Tammie George asked about a warranty on the metal panels.

¢ The $25.3 million bond issue voters approved in November provides for a new middle school for fifth- through eighth-graders at the district's 80 acres; remodeling the elementary school into a kindergarten through fourth-grade building; and remodeling and new construction so the high school and junior high school become a 9-12 high school.

¢ Until now, architects and construction managers have been working on contingency, awaiting approval of a bond election, and the March 1 bond sale.

¢ Superintendent Richard Erickson said that as of Tuesday, construction-related bills the school board has OK'd include $264,792 to the architectural firm, DLR Group; $47,324 to Turner Construction for construction management; $7,800 for a topographical study at the middle school site; and $9,368 for a traffic study.

Anderson said if the board approved a lighter color panel, as the plans showed, there should be no fading, and no need to repaint.

Anderson said he would not have favored metal panels from the ground up, mentioning they could be damaged by lawnmowers.

Dean asked if hailstorms would pose a danger to the metal siding.

Anderson said he didn't think that would be a major concern.

"It's a heavier gauge, plus it's a vertical surface," Anderson said.

Board member Kay Smith said she'd like to look at other buildings in the area that have exteriors similar to that of the middle school's preliminary design. Anderson said he would provide her addresses.

Superintendent Richard Erickson said Tuesday he didn't know when the board would vote on the plans.

"We're going to keep working with our architects and construction manager and make sure that we get everything that we want and everything that our kids need and everything that we promised the public," Erickson said. "We just want to make sure that we take our time and stretch those education dollars just as far as we possibly can."

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