Plans shared for school design

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The replacement of the 1903 building will be a single-story commons area with an outdoor patio and seating overlooking the gym. (Image submitted)

The new commons building structure will allow more space for safe loading and unloading of buses in front of the school. (Image submitted)

Inside, the commons area will connect the high school, elementary and gymnasium without any steps and will contain an elevator serving the gym, commons and second floor of the high school. (Image submitted)

By Molly Moser

Superintendent Shane Wahls presented an update on school facility projects to parents and students in both Guttenberg and Garnavillo on Tuesday, Aug. 22, in preparation for the start of the new school year. Voters approved an increase in the PPEL levy in February, but because the school district opted to lower levy amounts for its management and cash reserve funds, the tax actually decreased by one-third of a cent to $10.92.

“The 1903 building will come down as soon as school is out next spring,” said Wahls. “Then we need to put a structure in its place to connect the high school to the gym and the elementary. Early projected costs were up to $1 million, but right now we are sitting slightly under $700,000.” 

Wahls presented four images of the proposed design for the replacement structure, a one-story glass-front building with an outdoor plaza for students to gather before and after school. Landscaping may include trees, bushes, chairs and tables with umbrellas. The plaza area will provide a safer space to load and unload buses. 

Inside, a commons area filled with natural light will connect the high school to the elementary without a single stair step. “Building codes for new additions require an elevator, which will serve the gym floor, the commons area, and the second floor of the high school,” said the superintendent. 

The building’s arched entrance would act as the main event entrance as it overlooks and provides central access to the gymnasium. Just five feet above the gym floor, spectators can enjoy athletic events from lounge seating in this area as well. 

The size of the gymnasium will not change, but the court will be sanded and refinished, bleachers will be replaced with new, ADA compliant seating, new lighting will be installed and a new HVAC system will be mounted on the roof. 

The weight room, locker rooms and technology areas will be relocated from the current 1903 building to other areas of the school. The weight room will replace two classrooms nearest the elementary office. The technology office of Travis Geuder will be moved to the current agricultural classroom to be nearer the school’s tech hub. That room will be divided to provide space for choir uniforms and risers.

The lower band room located just off the gym floor will become the home girls locker room. Band and chorus will share the upstairs classroom. “That’s the way it was for many years and based on our schedule for both band and chorus, we are able to go back to that,” said Wahls. Because of the new storage area in the former ag classroom, band and choir teachers will have increased office and classroom space. The ag classroom will still be located near its shop, with Michelle Fassbinder’s TAG classroom likely being moved to the elementary building.

Locker rooms currently located in the hallway above the southwest corner of the gym will be remodeled to serve visiting teams. The boys locker room, currently located in the northeast corner of the gym, will be upgraded and continue to be used by the home boys teams. “Gym construction could affect volleyball but would be likely done before basketball season,” Wahls told parents. 

Schematic designs have been completed and design development is ongoing to decide what materials will be used in the new construction. “In September, we’re hoping the board can approve the construction documents so we can get them out to the public for bids, having them due in October,” Wahls explained. 

“We’re really happy with how this has turned out,” said Wahls. “These are exciting times for Clayton Ridge and this will bring great things to the students.”

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