Multimedia Journalist

Second high school designs shown to Blair Oaks school board

The Blair Oaks R-2 Board of Education took a digital “walk down the hall” of the second high school during a work session Tuesday night.

Construction documents by The Architects Alliance are about 50 percent complete with bids expected to go out early in 2020, Principal Architect Cary Gampher said.

Teacher and student recommendations helped change a few plans including no lockers in the main hallways and adding outdoor dining.

Administration offices and nurse and therapy spaces are close by when entering the main hallway. The highlight of the hall will likely be the wider corridor with study carrels on the north and south walls. Those spaces will include charging stations for students and teachers devices.

The inland classrooms have windows that look into the hallway and rooftop tubes to give natural light into classrooms.

Board members considered the benefits and potential risk of students in the classrooms with hallway-view windows.

“I personally like to have the ability to look into the classroom,” board member John Webber said.

While walking down the hall, building administrators can see the happenings inside the classroom, which is a positive, Superintendent Jim Jones said.

The windows will have the ability to be covered at a moments notice, he said.

Security would not be an issue with the windows, Gampher said.

The recommendation for hallway windows came from educators and designers alike, he added.

Other phase one design plans include the 250-seat cafeteria, ADA compliant auditorium, science wing, 1,300-seat gym, fine arts wing, two sets of restrooms.

Voters approved a $14 million bond in April to pay for the first of two planned phases of construction of the new high school.

Phase two plans would increase gym seating to about 2,000, exceeding the current space in the district, Jones said.

“We know we’re going to exceed what we can do now,” Jones said. “Now hopefully in four years it’ll be bigger than anything around here.”

The 70,000 square foot building will be across from the Blair Oaks Middle School for a projected total of $19 million.

The district plans to open the building in August 2021. The full project would be completed in August 2025 if voters approve another $5 million no-tax increase bond in April 2023, Jones said.

In other board meeting news, President Peggy Luebbert told the News Tribune on Tuesday she would not seek re-election in April 2020. Board members Doug Moeller and Nicki Russell announced they do intend to run. Candidate filing opens Dec. 17 and ends Jan 21.

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