School Board ponders decision on new athletic building

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The Switzerland County School Board on Monday night heard a presentation on the possibility of constructing a new athletic building near the football field.

Terry Lancer of Lancer+Beebe, LLC, an architecture firm in Indianapolis, made the presentation after the school board agreed at its last meeting to allow his firm to develop architectural and engineering plans for the building, but stopped short of approving its construction.

The building would be built near the football field where portable classrooms are currently sitting. The building would have lockerroom facilities, concession and restroom facilities, and other amenities, but Terry Lancer said that first and foremost the building construction is a safety issue.

He pointed to the fact that now, when football games or other sporting events are taking place at the track or field, fans are walking through the parking lot to get to the south side of the school to purchase concessions or use bathroom facilities.

This could cause a problem because cars are parked in the area for those sporting events, which could lead to an accident.

He also pointed out that by having the building inside of the fenced in area, children could access all of the facilities without having to go outside of the fence - making parents feel more secure about their children attending events.

The drawings that Terry Lancer presented show a wood frame building with metal and stone on the exterior. He also pointed out that any interior “wet walls” – those walls which would have some sort of fixture attached to them that would have water: drinking fountains, toilets, sinks, showers; would all be concrete block walls.

The building would have a concession area on the west end; with restroom facilities for men and women, and also a family restroom. There would be a large lockerroom with approximately 70 lockers that would be large enough to store helmets and shoulder pads, and there would also be coaches offices and a storage area for equipment.

There would also be a visitors lockerroom, and both lockerrooms would have their own showers and restroom facilities.

When he made his initial presentation at the board’s December 15th meeting, Terry Lancer said that he estimated the cost of the building to be between $600,000 and $700,000 in addition to the $50,000 or architectural/engineering cost and survey/printing cost.

At that meeting, the school board approved spending the $50,000 for the drawings, but asked Terry Lancer to look for ways to lower the building cost.

On Monday night, Terry Lancer said that he had been able to take approximately $125,000 from the project by eliminating some of the masonry work from areas of the building that aren’t seen by the public and some other avenues.

He said that as the current plans stood, he now estimated the cost of building the facility at between $475,000 and $575,000.

He also stressed that if the school board would like to have this building completed by August 1st in time for the fall season, he needed to know soon about proceeding.

Under his timeline, Terry Lancer said that if the school board approved the plans at Monday night’s meeting, he could then release the drawings and specifications for bids the following day; receive bids until February 19th; the school board could then meet on February 23rd and award a construction contract; and that would allow about five and a half months of construction – from February 23rd through August 1st.

The school board members decided that more study needed to be done before a vote could be taken.

School Board President Wayne Daugherty assigned the school board’s facilities committee to take the structure under advisement, and committee member Nancy Peters said that the committee will meet this Monday, February 2nd, at 3:30 p.m. in the board room of the administration building to further discuss the matter.

She asked that all administrators and coaches be invited to the meeting; and that the meeting will be open to the public so everyone interested can hear the discussion by the committee.

It is expected that the committee will then make a presentation on whether or not to proceed or if adjustments need to be made. No date for that meeting has been set.