The Long-Range Facility Planning Committee met Monday to tour Owensville’s high school and middle school under the guidance of building administrators and determine what future needs will be to …
The Long-Range Facility Planning Committee met Monday to tour Owensville’s high school and middle school under the guidance of building administrators and determine what future needs will be to be addressed.
Owensville High School Principal Kris Altemeyer began the tour in the northern parking lot by saying their primary item would be a performing arts center.
“Almost all of the schools in our conference, at least the ones of comparable size or bigger than us, have one,” Altemeyer said. “It would be a great facility for us, not just for the fine arts, performing arts but for the entire school.”
OHS drama just hosted a performance over the weekend, but Altemeyer said the small gym can only go so far in terms of putting on a production.
“The idea would be to build it out here (on the northern end of the building) and connect all three buildings so the kids wouldn’t have to go outside. The agriculture, main building and performing arts center all interconnected,” Altemeyer said. “That’s the general idea, although there are not a lot of details yet. If there is one thing you would ask me that we need more than anything here, that would be it. I know it’s probably the most expensive also.”
Board of Education director Debbie Landolt asked Altemeyer that if a no-tax-increase bond issue was a few years away, is there anything the small gym needs for the performing arts now?
“I think we’ve done — we just bought a new curtain, a new sound system, a new spotlight — I think we’ve done about all we can. The AC helped a lot. Those are all things that are nice and have made it better. I am not sure what else we could do than we’ve already done to help them out there.”
Superintendent Dr. Jeri Kay Hardy said the building’s aesthetics would also be discussed.
“We’ve got a company coming in — the paneling above the lockers will be covered up to brighten the place up,” Hardy said.
The two courtyards in the middle of the building are also an ongoing discussion from planning for the 2016 no-tax increase bond issue which funded $5.5 million in capital improvement across the district.
“Gary (Pohlmann, transportation and maintenance director) has had a couple of conversations about the courtyards,” Altemeyer said. “Possibly if nothing else, putting concrete and tables in there, things like that, where we don’t have to bring the lawnmower in there every week.”
Altemeyer said putting concrete in the courtyard would help with the maintenance of those areas that are currently unused.
The original purpose of the courtyards was to give classrooms on the inside of the building window accessibility.
“This is just getting our wishlist together, it is not saying if it is on the list it’s gonna happen,” Hardy said.
Hardy stopped at the bathrooms on the northern end that were part of the high schools newest addition.
“One thing that we’re thinking about, if we were to have any construction projects, with alot of the changes with gender is eventually if we have to do construction, it may be individual stalls just to make sure that we are compliant,” Hardy said.
Altemeyer said the restrooms seem to be in good working order and there is a single restroom near the counselor’s office that may be utilized for students who need it.
Altemeyer led the group to the agriculture building and stopped first at the weight training room.
“One of the long-term plans that goes along with the performing arts center — we are looking at this space and running out of room,” Altemeyer said. “It’s nicer than other facilities at some high schools, but it’s a long way away from the other athletic facilities. The plan would be if we could build that center to move (the weight training room) into the current band and music room, where it is right next to the gym and locker rooms, it would open up this area for the shop classes, CNC routers that are in our mechanic shop next door that would do a lot better in here. It’s bigger and really needs to be used in a cleaner environment than what’s it’s in. So we could have more of the CNC routers and things in this area if we were able to make that transition.”
Charlie Schlottach is a member of the Long Range Facility Planning Committee and asked Altemeyer about the capacity of a performing arts center.
“The student body is around 550,” Altemeyer said. “If we could do 600 and 650 people at least to fit the entire student body in it.”
In the STEM lab, Altemeyer pointed out the CNC routers that are utilized in the space.
“It’s used here a lot, but space-wise it gets pretty cramped and loud in here when everything is running. The idea is that if we can open up that space it would be helpful.”
The idea is to keep the STEM lab as a classroom and have a separate STEM shop.
“Every year we have sent less and less students to RTI/RTC,” Altemeyer said.
He said the space and funds are available, but the interest isn’t there. There were around 30 kids attending five years ago, now it is closer to 20 students.
“The building trades we once had here served this area very well, and made their living right here,” Schlottach said.
In the welding shop, Altemeyer said it needed more room and more storage to comfortably accommodate students. The shop held a trailer and items leftover from FFA Barnwarming as well as classroom tables.
“It’s hard to get all of the stuff in here,” Altemeyer said.
Pohlmann said the wishlist for him would be a larger area. Maintenance had to wait a whole year to get into the bay and work on the lights because it was so full of projects.
“I have never tried to figure out how you would go about extending this building,” Pohlmann said.
An estimated 20 students are enrolled in the class. Altemeyer said there are 56 to 60 kids in the classroom throughout the day.
Outside, Hardy pointed out the lights in Dutchmen Stadium that will have to be purchased because they can’t be replaced. If that happens, she prefers lights that can be adjusted for theatrical purposes.
The former A+ Lab that is attached to the library could be utilized as a concession stand according to Altemeyer. Students use Chromebooks and no longer need stationary computers in a computer lab.
“We don’t utilize this as much as we did originally,” Altemeyer said. “Having storage and possibly a concession stand to get that out of the kitchen is something we would like to do.”
He also added that the gym needs new pullout bleachers.
“New bleachers are probably right behind the performing arts center, the second biggest need,” he said. “Going in and out as much as they do during the day, a lot of it has to be done manually to straighten out the bottom ones. One of these times we are going to pull them in or out and they are just not going to go. It is a big-ticket item.”
The big gym currently has a capacity of 2,000 people. Each section of bleachers holds about 500 people.
“This is a great gym for a school our size and other than the bleachers, we couldn’t ask for more than what we have here,” Altemeyer said.
The bleachers have been priced around half a million.
“They will have to be able to be pulled in and out,” Altemeyer said. “For gym purposes and games.”
At the middle school, Principal Teresa Schulte had a few line items starting at the bus line behind the building.
“The teachers have asked for a canopy out here at the bus line,” Schulte said. “It is not one of my priorities, but I wanted to mention it.”
Pohlmann said the transportation at between schools is going well currently. He reiterated that he does not want a turn lane because of the sight-line issues.
Schulte’s primary concern was the middle school gym.
Schulte explained the issue, “There is a load-bearing wall and we can’t really make this bigger. The bleachers are currently broken, we can’t pull them out anymore.”
The HVAC is too loud and makes it nearly impossible to hold any events or assemblies in the gym. The floors have dead spots due to dips in the concrete so games can’t be held there. The bleachers no longer come out and when they did, they only sat 150 people, not enough to seat even the entire student body.
Committee member Paul Schmanke asked what they would do with the gym if they built a new one.
“We could build new classrooms, use it for storage, at one time it was suggested that the administration office be moved in here,” Schulte said. “I know there are many things we could do that\.”
Schmanke asked if it could be an auditorium, but Hardy said the logistics of getting the high school students to the middle school would be an obstacle with time constraints.
Schmanke asked if there would be pushback from the community if they put another gym on the middle school. Hardy said if there is not a performing arts center, they would receive pushback.
“Our kids go to the high school now,” Schulte said. “We can’t have any performances here because there is not enough seating to hold our audiences. All of our games are at OES.”
She said space for performances, games and a concession stand would be her primary wishlist.
If the gym is not replaced, it needs a new floor.
“The floor would have to come completely out, it would have to be ground underneath — that is why it is bad because they didn’t get it level underneath,” Pohlmann said. “Jason (Hinson) got a bid on this last year.”
Hinson said their best price yet was last year and it was under $80,000. Pohlmann said they had someone from Jefferson City come down to give them a price two years ago on a replacement floor.
“She said it would only cost 25 percent more to build a new gym than to tear this one out, take the roof off, extend it, and do all that work,” Pohlmann said. “For 25 percent more you could build a whole new gym. That is how expensive it is to retrofit this gym to a full-size gym with more seating that would fit a comparable gym to OES.”
Coaches refuse to use the gym because there are so many dead spots, it’s not usable for a game and has no seating.
In the middle school library, Schulte said they need new flooring, whether it is new carpet or tile or a mix of both.
“It is the last big-ticket item for us to make it look spiffy,” Schulte said.
Schulte has previously expressed frustrations that there is a blind spot between the middle school’s front doors and the office and both the library and art room doors are located in between.
“I don’t know if it would be possible to move the office to the art room and the art room to the office or what that would look like,” Schulte said. “I want this to be a place where kids can come here and perform and be proud of what we do.”
Schlottach asked about the district’s finances.
“From an approachable standpoint of where we are financially, what do we owe, where financial rates are, what do you think our limit is,” Schlottach asked.
Hardy said if they ran a no-tax-increase-bond-issue right now they would be looking at the availability of $8 to $13 million dollars.
“That fluctuates from year to year and you don’t have to borrow at the ceiling and we always try to be conservative with what we do,” Hardy said. “Next fall that number is probably going to go up a little bit.”
The group agreed to think about anything else the buildings might need. They meet again on at 3:30 p.m. on May 2 at Gerald Elementary School to tour that building and possibly the Owensville Elementary.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here