School board gets Roanoke school update

Following a quick school board meeting Thursday, July 12, the Huntington County Community School Corporation held a public work session to provide an update regarding the new Roanoke Elementary School building.

Prior to the work session, the board approved a lease for the corporation’s alternative school at the Dyer property, located on Home Street east of the McDonald’s restaurant.

Board member Reed Christiansen was absent.

The rent will be $2,200 per month, which includes utilities and outdoor maintenance.

The alternative school had formerly been located in the Horace Mann building, which will re-open in the next school year as an elementary school.

“We like the proximity to the school; we like that it’s not on school property,” said Superintendent Randy Harris. ”And plus the space is sufficient to take care of all our alternative school needs.”

During the work session, Harris explained the main purpose was to review the board’s plans developed for the new elementary school in Roanoke.

Three board members, Gary McClellan, Kevin Yarger and Matt Melcher, comprise the Roanoke Building Committee.

Harris said the main purpose of the work session is to allow the lead architect on the expected $16 million project, Adam Weesner of Barton-Coe-Vilamaa, to walk the other four members and the public through the plans for the new school building.

“The character of the building comes through there, a little more refined than what I showed you the first time,” Weesner said. “The process has been very good so far.”

Weesner presented some new renderings to the board, but said nothing significant has changed regarding the main plans for the school. However, he wanted to talk about refinements and present some new drawings about details, such as how the driveway will be looped to allow parents to drop off and pick up students at the building’s front door. That driveway will be located apart from the bus parking lot, which will have a separate entrance.

The bus entry door, which is also an events entrance, features a translucent canopy that protects the pedestrian entryway. That door opens into a small lobby featuring trophy display cases; from there visitors can make their way to the school’s gymnasium.

Weesner also said there is enough lawn area on the east side of the property to build additional classrooms in the future without touching the parking lot pavement.

Other features of the building’s 8,600 square feet interior include secure entries, central staircase, resource room, an equipment room with an overhead door and speech, psychologist and other support space, as well as music, PTO, media center and other storage spaces.

A large southwest-facing glass wall will allow daylight to come into the cafeteria.

One new change is that the stage is now closed to the cafeteria side; the opposite side opens to the gym.

On the second floor, third, fourth and fifth grade classrooms will be located along with two “bubble” classrooms.

There is also easy roof access from the second floor, Weesner said.

Finishing touches include using stained, polished concrete for corridor flooring and a synthetic wood floor with an exposed ceiling in the gym. The media center will feature carpeting, tables, classroom space and activities area.

Most of the walls will consist of masonry, with a few drywalls on the second floor and in the school office, Weesner said.

Security measures include lockdown on outside doors with the exception of the front door during school hours, with an enclosed, secured vestibule that has a glass window. From there, the school secretary can view the visitor and unlock the door for them to enter the building.

Board president Matt Roth said several parents have asked why HCCSC is building a two-story building. Weeser answered that the property does not have enough room to build a single-story building. Cost-wise, there is little difference, he said.

Yarger explained that a single-story building would not allow for any future expansion of the school.

“This way we can very easily add on a room or two without a whole lot of expense,” he said.

Timewise, Weesner said the project would be out to bid the first week of August, with bids received by the first week of September. If the board approves a bid, construction would be on-site in October, he added.

Digital plans will be available to the public the first week of August by contacting Barton-Coe-Vilamaa, Weesner said.

The next regular school board meeting will be held Monday, July 23, at 7 p.m. at Salamonie School.