AURELIA - At their monthly meeting Tuesday evening, Aurelia School Board members were presented with a review of the school buildings and suggestions for possible remodeling and/or renovations to address issues the District had listed.
A three-man team from Invision Architects and Estes Construction, companies which have worked together on several school building projects throughout the state of Iowa, had spent the day Monday and Tuesday touring the Aurelia school buildings, drawing up floor plans for the existing structures and brainstorming ideas for remodeling or renovations which would bring the Aurelia school buildings more up-to-date and handicap accessible.
They presented their ideas to the Board at Tuesday's meeting with a powerpoint presentation and handouts, stressing that these were just their thoughts and suggestions, and if the Board elects to follow the suggestions, they could choose the entire plan or just selected parts, depending on their budget and priority of needs.
Cost estimates were part of the recommendations also, but it was stressed that the figures given were just a "best guess estimate," based on current prices. The team also stated that the Board needed to realize also that any plan chosen would require a significant amount of time for all of the needed pieces to fall together.
For example, at least one public meeting would be necessary for community members to look at and discuss any proposed plans. The project would also have to be scheduled with the selected contractor and the district would probably want much of the work to be done in the summer, when school was not in session.
The issues which were addressed included an increased enrollment in the Aurelia buildings with the establishment of a shared Middle School with Alta this fall; relocation of the current cafeteria from the basement to a more handicap-accessible location; establishing an adequate multipurpse cafeteria and/or gymnasium space; making all floor levels handicap accessible; having a main level optiion for Speciaty classes; the re-location of rooms; and the possibility of adding air conditioning.
The inspection team stated that their first impressions of the Aurelia buildings was that they were "solid buildings," which had been well-maintained. They also stated that the school has "enough area" for the expected number of students, but that the area is "just not in the right locations."
Without getting into details here, the main suggestions from Invision Architects were: 1)The relocation of a kitchen and Commons area to the space currently occupied by the Industrial Technology classroom and wrestling room, raising the floor to the level of the existing adjoining hallway; 2) The construction of an elevator which would provide access for all three floors of the 1921 building; 3) Construction of a ramp; 4) Installing a floor in the space above the current cafeteria, level with the first floor hallway; 5) Consolidation of the existing administrative offices into one larger office, with easier access to the public; 6) Constructing a new building for Industrial Technology east of the gymnasium; 7) Removal of the current bleachers from the gymnasium, to be replaced by retractable bleachers; and 8) Minor changes to the current hrigh school to accommodate the change to a Middle School.
A figure of $ 3.5 - $4 million was given as a rough estimate of the total cost for all of these changes.
No decisions were made by the Board, but they will continue to discuss the project, perhaps at a special Board Retreat, and keep in touch with Invision and Estes Construction.
In other business, Board President Dan Winterhof formally introduced Sue Sangwin, who was appointed to serve the remainder of Board Member Mike Kruger's unexpired term and was sworn in on May 13.
Principal Ann Sandine reported on the school's 120th and final high school graduation ceremony, held on May 15th, and praised the senior class for their participation in school activities including the Commencement ceremony. She said all of the students were present for Awards Night and all were on time for Sunday's ceremony - both unusual occurrences.
Sandine also said the district's teachers have worked diligently in conjunction with the teachers in the Alta district on the process of moving into the state's Core Curriculum program and she feels things are progressing on schedule.
Sandine also said that teacher Mary Ann DePuma will be taking the vacant First Grade teacher spot his fall, and as a result there will be a need to cover at least part of the part-time 4th grade slot she will be vacating.
Sandine also said that teacher Will Dible, Board member Myron Radke and she met with a SIMPCO Community Development Planner a few weeks ago regarding the Outdoor Classroom Project. The planner is doing all of the work involving the grant the school received for the project. She is currently working with Del's Garden Center on designing a layout for the area and has also contaced a local plumber about installing a water hydrant on the lot to better faclitate watering of the plants and trees.
Sandine said that a pep rally at the school will be held the next day (Wednesday) to send the school's representative to the State Track Meet, Audrey Winterhof, off to Des Moines. Audrey and Haley Payne, who attends school in Alta, will be competing for Alta-Aurelia at the meet, which starts today.
The last day of school for students will be Wednesday, May 25. Teachers will have in-service on May 26 and they will have an in-service and lunch at Alta on May 27.