Discussions for Williams High School began with multiple renovation options at a work session in September, ranging from projects costing under $7 million to ones that would require constructing a new building, as previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper. District trustees continued conceptual discussions with PBK, an architectural and engineering design solutions company, at a work session in November, where the $14 million dollar plan was first formally introduced.
In PBK’s most recent report at a work session Feb. 18, the renovation plans were presented as the first phase of a master-plan renovation.
This first phase would include moving the school’s entrance from the south to the north side of the building, remodeling the existing building to create larger classrooms and creating clear sight lines along select corridors for safety and security, the presentation said.
Moving the entrance would include relocating administration and counseling offices to the new front of the building. An art suite would take the place of current offices, and a new classroom pod would be established to the side of the art suite, according to PBK’s plan. A new special education suite would be constructed next to the relocated administration suite.
An estimated three parking spots would be taken away from the parking lot. Traffic patterns for parent drop-off and buses would remain as they are, the presentation detailed.
“These are great first steps,” Superintendent Sara Bonser said. “Flipping the... entrance is really probably one of the most important things as far as ... the whole traffic of the students and the families. I really think that the special ed piece—getting that closer to administration was a top priority for the campus.”
The construction project would take an estimated 10 months if approved by the board. Construction could possibly take place from March 2021 to January 2022, according to the presentation.
Roughly $4 million of the 2016 bond had been previously designated toward Williams High School, Randy McDowell, the district's chief financial officer, said at the meeting. The additional $10 million would come from interest income and savings from other projects in the bond, he said.
“We're getting a free project here, essentially, which is unheard of in public finance,” trustee David Stolle said.
A transition from the first phase to further steps in the master-renovation would line up well if more funding for Williams High School were to be included in the next bond, he said.
More information will be presented to the board once design and construction documents are completed and construction manager options are bid out, McDowell said.
The school has been upgraded in a number of ways over the last 18 years, including new roofing, artificial turf at the school’s stadium and a heating, ventilation and air conditioning replacement that was approved in late 2019.
Correction: this article was updated to correct the wording of a quote.