R-VI board to promote master plan

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Exeter R-VI School Board discussed the district's master building plan during its regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 14.

Brandon Dake, of Dake Wells Architecture, stated that the district building committee has asked Dake Wells to help get information to the community through town meetings and schematic designs.

Dake is currently soliciting proposals from surveyors and plans to have a model built to show the community the master plan building design.

According to a master planning report released by Dake, the Exeter School District master planning committee worked to create a 10-year master plan based on the school's current needs and projected growth.

With information obtained through a variety of building committee meetings and community surveys, Dake created a master plan diagram that includes two building phases.

The first phase of the building project would provide six new classrooms and a new multipurpose building that could be used as a cafeteria and acoustical performance facility. The plan proposes constructing a two-story building in the middle of the campus and renovating the current cafeteria to add four classrooms on the Exeter campus.

"By building within the courtyard, we will be able to connect all buildings together to add safety to the campus," said Tina Nolan, superintendent. "Right now we have music classes in a trailer on campus and drama classes in the house south of the campus."

Soil testing has been completed on the courtyard area to ensure the property can be utilized for construction without extra excavation costs, said Nolan. The new multipurpose building will address some flooding problems on the campus.

"The new multipurpose building can be used for performances, extracurricular activities and will give us a nice air conditioned facility for graduation and other activities," said Nolan. "It will also give the community a nice place to use for special events."

The project would increase campus security by eliminating five unmonitored entrances and moving the music and drama programs into new classrooms on the main campus.

This phase of the master plan would include the demolition of the house to the south of the campus. A parking lot would then be constructed adjacent to the high school entrance. The phase is estimated to cost around $2 million.

The second phase of the master building plan includes constructing an additional six classrooms, a performance gymnasium and a new high school entrance with new administration offices.

This phase will also increase security on the campus by eliminating an additional two unmonitored entrances. The second phase also proposes the construction of an additional parking area to the north of the campus.

The second phase is estimated to cost around $2.5 million. The district does not plan to address this phase of the project within the next five years.

Through a combination of lease purchase and bond issues, the district could obtain around $1.6 million to finance the proposed improvements.

On Jan. 10, Dake presented the master building plan to the Exeter School Board, which voted to place a $1.1 million bond issue on the upcoming April ballot to help finance the first phase of the plan.

The board asked Dake to work with the building committee to reevaluate the first phase of the plan to cut around $400,000 from the estimated building costs and bring the project costs within the $1.6 million in available financing.

"We will have the master plan set up at some future ball games to allow members of the community to look at the proposed plan," said Tina Nolan, superintendent. "We also plan to schedule meetings to talk to the the community about the plan."

Nolan hopes to gather feedback from members of the community about what patrons would like to see the building project accomplish if the bond issue passes in April.

The district's recent MSIP review pointed out three problems with the current campus structure. Those issues included: the cafeteria space is inadequate to serve the school population; the kitchen, which is open to the student serving and eating area, is a safety hazard; and no clear access to the building presents problems with security, parking and handicapped access.

In other business, the Exeter R-VI School Board:

• Approved the summer school schedule, which will be held from June 4 through June 29.

• Voted to leave this year's graduation on May 7 as scheduled.

• Voted to offer $15,000 to Charles Weaver for land located adjacent to the school.

• Hired Karen Wahl as a substitute teacher.

• Approved the 2007-08 school calendar.

• Voted to hire Davis, Lynn and Moots to conduct the 2006-07 district audit.

• Approved a building payment.

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