The third meeting to review concepts and solutions for future renovations at Washington Community High School included eight possible building plans for the community to review.


The third meeting to review concepts and solutions for future renovations at Washington Community High School included eight possible building plans for the community to review.

BLDD Architects Inc. drew up blueprints, 3-D images and new estimates for the eight plans based on suggestions from teachers, parents, staff and students who attended previous meetings.

Sam Johnson of BLDD said current student enrollment is beyond building capacity, and additional space is needed to maintain opportunities for current and future educational programs.

The original building for WCHS was constructed in 1942, with two additions in 1955.

Some of the original classrooms from the 1950s are still being used at WCHS.

“We call those the factory models, where everything is set up lecture-style. It’s not really geared for project or interactive learning methods,” Johnson said.

On a menu list of renovation items handed out at the meeting, just to provide new finishes — wall, floor, ceiling and lockers — to the classroom areas from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s would cost more than $1.3 million.

Other menu items with a high price tag included: more than $9.2 million in renovations to the heating, air condition and ventilation system; nearly $1.3 million for complete roof and wall repairs and replacement of non-thermal windows; and nearly $1.3 million for improvements to the locker rooms.

“Some people caught me after the last meeting and asked why we wouldn’t just construct a new building on a new site. With construction and land acquisition, that would cost us close to $60 million,” Johnson said.

“Every district in the state is limited to the debt they can incur and WCHS is $20.6 million. If you choose a plan tonight over that figure, consider how we are going to trim costs or make it work to fit the price,” Johnson added.

Johnson instructed the audience to break into small groups to discuss and take votes on which two of the eight options they preferred for the future of WCHS.

After 45 minutes of deliberations, a majority of the groups chose Options B, C and H or a combination of the three options.

In Option B, more than $20 million would pay for new construction of the auto shop, weight room, kitchen, family and consumer sciences, art, administration and commons areas.


The existing auto shop and health classroom would be demolished in the second phase.

The third phase would include reconfiguring of all existing building areas.

In Option C, more than $28 million would pay for new construction of family and consumer sciences, art, music, industrial arts, wrestling, weight room and kitchen areas.

Johnson said new construction in phase three would move administration offices to the front of the building and make the commons area the heart of the high school.

Option H comes with a more than $33 million price tag and would include new construction of industrial arts, music, arts, wrestling, weight room, FACS, commons and administration areas.

The front door would face Jefferson Street, similar to option B, but Johnson said option H is the “largest and grandest option” by far.

Both options C and H would also include the demolition of the 1955 east addition and the Ashbrook votech building.

Most groups said they would like to see Ashbrook avoid demolition, as it is one of the newest and healthiest buildings.

A group leader during one presentation said planners and the public should not dismiss the idea of building a new school, and should rather aim to “build the biggest we can afford.”

There will be several more opportunities for the district and BLDD to hear community input on WCHS renovations.

On Nov. 6, the strongest concepts identified will be narrowed down to two or three options.

A presentation will be given to the school board Nov. 17, and community members will vote during an options forum Dec. 1.

The school board will vote on a final renovation plan Dec. 8.