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‘Functional and beautiful’

Published: Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 4:52 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 4:56 p.m. CDT

SPRING VALLEY — Representatives of the Healy, Bender architectural firm of Naperville were back at Hall High School Wednesday night to show yet another version of the proposed new school building.

The Healy, Bender men have become a familiar feature at school board meetings. In November 2011, the board hired the firm to conduct a building facility assessment study. The average age of the school is 75 years old, and half of the school is almost 100 years old; school officials have been dealing with crumbling walls, leaking roofs and failing mechanical systems.

Hall officials were offered options including an estimated $18.2 million to keep the current facility and bring it up to code.

In August, the board learned more about the possibilities of a new facility, located immediately north of the current school, and with a price tag of $37 million.

After working with Superintendent Mike Struna and the school’s facilities committee, Healy, Bender was back Wednesday to show a revised plan with a price tag of $32 million.

Ted Rozeboom told the board the single biggest change was the removal of a planned 2,400-square foot automotive classroom.

“We still have what we are calling now industrial tech in the building, which is more of a multi-purpose lab and not including things like automotive lifts,” Rozeboom said. “We do not have a traditional automotive shop nearly to the scale you have here.”

Struna said the idea is to trying to shift from a four-year auto mech program to a vocational program.

“What we’re talking about is not only having auto mech in the future, but also having welding, machine shop and woodworking.”

The site plan itself saw little change and still included a new facility to be built immediately north of the current building. The school would be two stories on the south, and the sloping lot would allow for three stories on the north.

“It’s an unusual site, and it’s got a lot of opportunities,” Rozeboom said. “It’s a nice site, much better than a flat site.”

Rozeboom said they didn’t recommend going with a one-story building, in part because of roofing expenses and the distance between various parts of the school.

“Your site is so conducive to going vertically and saving all that green space that you have,” he said. “It’s going to make for a very functional and beautiful facility.”

In addition to the automotive area, other cuts included a small reduction in classroom, office and library size, and eliminating a separate choral room.

Not all of the changes included cuts. Rozeboom said more space was added to the special education department, and a proposal to eliminate the second gym, saving nearly $2 million, was vetoed by the facilities committee.

Rozeboom said the capacity of the new school would be 600, considerably higher than recent enrollments, which have dropped below 400.

“But we do know what happens when a new high school goes in,” he said. “With your new middle school, you’re going to get some pressure on growth.”

The board approved the design and agreed to move forward with the process.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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