Board, OPN close in on MHS entrance plan

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     Looking for a “wow factor” in a remodeled entrance to Monticello High School, representatives from OPN architects met with the Monticello School Board in a special meeting Feb. 4 in the Administrative Board Room.

     Responding to concerns board members expressed about entrance options during the board’s Jan. 28 meeting, the architects came back with some new ideas in hopes of building a consensus.

     “We want to get as close as we can to making a decision,” Superintendent Brian Jaeger told the board at the start of the meeting. “The closer we can get tonight, the better.”

     In general, the idea is to enclose some or all of the “wind tunnel” outdoor space that leads to the current entrance, partly with a new district office, and partly with an entrance vestibule.

     The idea also is to make the outside of the building more attractive to those entering for activities or those driving by.

     The high school entrance is part of the $15 million bond issue voters approved in September, the main portion of which is a new middle school attached to the south end of the high school.

     OPN presented the board with six options, and over the course of much discussion and an hour and 45 minutes of meeting time, the board seemed to agree on several features:

     • Good security, in which people would need to be buzzed into the building into a vestibule, after which they would enter either the high school commons or the district office.

     • A higher, 24-foot entrance.

     • A large, perforated metal Panther sign that will go on the front, northeast corner of the gym, and can be back-lit at night.

     • A long, concrete bench along the right side (looking at the school), with hopes of limiting students cutting across the grass to get to the entrance.

     • Short light posts that wrap around the curved portion of the parking lot.

     A new entrance would need to be 3,500 square feet or less in order to prevent additional costs that would be enacted by fire codes. Katie Harms of OPN said 3,500 square feet would be about half of the open space between the edge of the gym and the current entrance.

     There was also much discussion about the inside, how large an entrance vestibule should be, whether the concession stand could have a different location, and what to do with extra commons space that would result from some of the options.

     The OPN architects seemed satisfied that they could take the board’s suggestions and come back with an improved plan.



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