Schemat­ics for new GES build­ing approved

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@car­o­line­times­

— The Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion at its meet­ing Tues­day, Aug. 7, approved schematic draw­ings for the new Greens­boro Ele­men­tary School, the next step to­ward open­ing the school in 2021.

Peter Wine­bren­ner, prin­ci­pal of the Ed­u­ca­tion Stu­dio at Hord Co­plan Macht, the project’s ar­chi­tec­tural firm, said the schemat­ics will now be sent to the state’s Pub­lic School Con­struc­tion Board for ap­proval.

Once the state ap­proves the schemat­ics, the firm will be­gin work on the de­sign de­vel­op­ment, which must be to de­liv­ered to the state for ap­proval by Nov. 1 to stay on track for con­struc­tion ground­break­ing in spring 2019.

Wine­bren­ner led the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion through a Pow­erpoint pre­sen­ta­tion show­ing a floor plan and artists’ ren­der­ings of sev­eral views of the new school, to be built be­hind the ex­ist­ing school on land owned by the school sys­tem.

The new school will oc­cupy a smaller foot­print, yet be sub­stan­tially larger in­side, grow­ing from 72,000 to 94,500 square feet, thanks to a two-story de­sign in the sec­tion of the build­ing hous­ing class­rooms.

Class­room space will in­crease from 33,100 square feet in the cur­rent build­ing to 37,500 square feet in the new one, to re­lieve the school’s over­crowd­ing is­sues that made the new school nec­es­sary.

Five of those rooms will be “flex” class­rooms, Wine­bren­ner said, which can be con­verted to dif­fer­ent grade lev­els from year to year as needed.

The de­sign fea­tures four dis­tinct sec­tions, each with a pitched roof, which are eas­ier to main­tain than the flat roofs tra­di­tion­ally used on school build­ings, and cre­ate space to store me­chan­i­cals un­der­neath, Wine­bren­ner said.

The schemat­ics showed dif­fer­ent col­ors for the struc­tures hous­ing the class­rooms and those hous­ing the new gym­na­sium and cafe­te­ria, to fur­ther break up the de­sign, Wine­bren­ner said.

The cafe­te­ria and gym­na­sium struc­tures will have separate en­trances, which will al­low out­side groups to use those spa­ces af­ter school hours, he said.

The schematic also showed the sec­tions hold­ing the class­rooms canted at an an­gle, to bet­ter cap­ture nat­u­ral light from the north, Wine­bren­ner said, which makes it eas­ier to man­age heat gain from sun­light.

Board of Ed­u­ca­tion mem­ber Tol­bert Rowe said he was not con­fi­dent peo­ple would ac­cept that ex­pla­na­tion when they asked why part of the school was off­set at an an­gle.

“It will stand out in a small com­mu­nity like Greens­boro, and I’m not sure ex­plain­ing we tilted it 15 to 20 de­grees to get to true north will cut it,” Rowe said.

Board mem­ber Kathy Dill dis­agreed, say­ing she thought the de­sign looked mod­ern and creative.

“It looks 21st cen­tury,” Dill said. “I just don’t want it to look like a prison.”

Wine­bren­ner said the slightly an­gled class­room sec­tion was not a hill the ar­chi­tec­ture firm would die on as it moves into the de­sign de­vel­op­ment phase.

“We’re will­ing to take all opin­ions into ac­count,” he said.

Board mem­ber James New­comb said he thought the school’s twos­tory de­sign and pitched roofs would get more at­ten­tion, in a county where most schools are still a sin­gle story with a flat roof.

Wine­bren­ner said the school will be much far­ther back from the road than the cur­rent school.

“The height helps vis­ually, to draw the eye,” he said.

The de­sign also al­lows for growth if needed, Wine­bren­ner said. More class­rooms could be built above the pre-kinder­garten and kinder­garten rooms, or added on to ei­ther end of the sec­tion hold­ing class­rooms.

Once the new school is open and the old one is de­mol­ished, a new bus loop and park­ing lot will be built as well, Wine­bren­ner said.

The es­ti­mated cost of the school is $47.8 mil­lion, Wine­bren­ner said, al­low­ing for ex­pected cost in­creases dur­ing con­struc­tion over the next few years.

As of now, the state is ex­pected to con­trib­ute $26.6 mil­lion, with a lo­cal share of $21.2 mil­lion.

Rowe said he was con­cerned the es­ti­mate should ex­pect con­struc­tion costs to go higher, par­tic­u­larly in light of pro­posed tar­iffs on some ma­te­ri­als.

Wine­bren­ner agreed it was pos­si­ble.

“The con­struc­tion mar­ket is in­flated right now,” Wine­bren­ner said. “There’s a lot of work and not enough of a work force. Ma­te­ri­als will cost more too for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons.”

Mil­ton Nagel, as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent for ad­min­is­tra­tive ser­vices, said the school sys­tem would be work­ing hard over the next sev­eral months to get the Pub­lic School Con­struc­tion Board to rec­og­nize all five “flex” class­rooms, in­stead of only one, and sev­eral class­rooms for English lan­guage learner stu­dents in its for­mula for fig­ur­ing out how much the state should con­trib­ute to the project. That would in turn lower the lo­cal cost.


This artist’s ren­der­ing shared at the Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion’s meet­ing Tues­day, Aug. 7, shows the pro­posed new Greens­boro Ele­men­tary School.

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