School Unveils Conceptual Plan

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By Charles Collier, The Denmark News

On Monday, January 23, Matthew Wolfert of Bray Architects presented a conceptual design for renovations and additions to the high school building.

Last week the Board of Education approved a $14.9 million referendum question for the April 4 elections after finding wide public support from a survey conducted in September.

Differing from an original concept drawn by Keller Inc., Bray intends to renovate the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms rather

The gymnasium concept proposed in April's referendum.
The gymnasium concept proposed in April’s referendum.

than build new. Wolfert said this change would save money while providing the same function.

Those fresh locker rooms on the school’s east side will serve as the gateway to a bulk of the proposed construction.

A new weight room, wrestling room, space for trainers and officials as well as a sizeable agricultural science room will lead into a three-court gymnasium with a total of 1,650 seats.

Surrounding the new gymnasium is a lobby which faces the south parking lot. Wolfert said the lobby would better direct traffic for events and make clear when events like basketball or football games are going on.

Currently, football patrons have a less-than-ideal walkway from the parking lot to the field, having to walk a grass path or cut through school hallways. In the concept, fans would have a swift walkway to the lights of Leiterman Field.

AuditoriumConcept
The auditorium concept proposed on this April’s referendum.

Athletics are not the only aspect of the school proposed to benefit from referendum funds; renovations to the auditorium look to increase seating from 465 to 590 as well as reimagining the performance venue’s acoustics with a moveable wall.

A new sound and lighting booth would be built on the second-level, providing more security for valuable equipment as well as an atmosphere more resembling of a real-world stage.

Additional backstage space is proposed directly behind the stage as opposed to the wedge-shaped area on the stage’s left side. This would allow for more organization during performances as well as provide more accessible space for set-building.

Seating in the new addition will be ramped to handicap accessibility compliance.

Originally proposed by the school was a new maintenance garage, though after ranking lowest in public interest on the September survey, Wolfert refined the idea to add space to the existing maintenance building.

Currently the garage has space for the school van and lawn equipment and little else. Four stalls are proposed for the addition, one of which is reserved for the FFA’s transport van.

Saying decisions were made with cost in mind, Wolfert stressed that the plan is currently short on full specifics but that, should the April referendum pass, much more in-depth work would be poured into making the project as cost-efficient as possible while addressing the needs at hand.

There will be at least one informational meeting for the public regarding the plan, likely taking place next month. Any questions or clarifications are to be directed to District Administrator Klaubauf.