OPN presents 3-D look at potential middle school design

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     The schematic design phase for the new middle school is nearing completion, and representatives from OPN Architects were on hand at the Monticello School Board meeting Nov. 26 to display the progress.

     Preliminary designs have been the result of meetings between OPN, the facilities committee and Superintendent Brian Jaeger to compare ideas.

     What OPN presented Monday was a design big on angles, sloped roofs and collaborative spaces. It was cautioned that this is an early design, which certainly will be tweaked in the coming months.

     Katie Harms of OPN showed the board, through a series of slides, how the building it is envisioning would not be a series of rectangles and squares blocked together.

     Roger Worm of OPN said the design it was looking at involved “skewing those rectangles.”

     Harms showed a design that angled rooms and spaces, through “hinge points,” that would gradually angle the building and point it toward a possible elementary school addition that might be the focus of a bond issue several years down the road.

     The presentation included a “3-D walk-through,” giving viewers a feel of what it might be like to venture through the new building.

     A key element of the design is a commons area that starts tall and wide and then narrows to 15 feet across on one end. It also offered a collaboration space in the center of a main classroom wing.

     Another main feature would be the lobby, called a “secured vestibule,” which would provide access to both the high school and middle school buildings before school began, with staff supervision, but would be locked down once school did start, so that anyone entering either building would have to be buzzed through from the lobby.

     The building would have its own kitchen, which might one day be the central kitchen for the high school, middle school, and an elementary school if the latter is approved one day.

     Board members did have questions about the design. Dave Melchert said the entrance that leads to both the middle school and the high school, so that students from both would enter together, “wasn’t my understanding.”

     Bud Johnson wondered about the classroom section and where students would exit in the event of a fire.

     Vicki Hyland of OPN pointed out that escape routes will be part of the final design, and that any building plan must also be approved by the fire marshal.

     OPN will return with another update, likely either during the board’s work session on Wednesday, Dec. 12; or the regular board meeting, which was moved to Monday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. because of the holidays.

     Also on Monday, the board approved the Instructional Support Program Levy Resolution of Participation. The program, which the board agreed to approve for one year and revisit next year, brings in $550,000 to the district, mostly for staffing.

     The board will decide in March how much of the levy will be derived from income surtax and how much from property tax.

In other board business:

     • approved, as part of the consent agenda, the resignations of Karen Menster as Panther Academy associate and Laura Murphy Duwa as Shannon preschool associate.

     • approved, as part of the consent agenda, the appointments of Stephanie Pumphrey as Panther Academy Associate, Jeff McCormick as part-time athletic trainer, Brian Kramer as volunteer wrestling coach, and Jarrett Easton as volunteer boys’ basketball coach.

     • approved, as part of the consent agenda, the transfer of Michelle Liptak from special education child specific associate at Shannon to preschool associate at Shannon.

     • approved the School Budget Review Committee application for open enrollment-out students and English Language Learner (ELL) students beyond five years, for a total of $81,976. Last year’s amount was $67,456.38.

     • approved the High School Registration Handbook. The biggest change was that course load requirements have been dropped, replaced by a career pathways program.

     • approved the Jones Regional Education Center/Kirkwood Programs of Study. There were several academy changes listed for the 2019-20 academic year, mostly pertaining to testing requirements and name changes.

     Also, four companion courses were dropped: Ethics, AP Calculus, U.S. Government for high school credit, and Computer Science Principles. Added were Introduction to Human Services, Personal Finance, Survey of Animal Industry, and American Government for college credit.

     • approved the first reading of five board policies, four of them pertaining to transportation and the fifth pertaining to the State Aid for Medical Assistance fund.



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