by Scott Neuffer

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November 15, 2012
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DHS remodel to begin this summer

Last week, by approving the final design of a $17 million bond-funded remodel of Douglas High School, school board members set in motion a three-year construction schedule at the end of which ninth-graders will move into a sleek, state-of-the-art campus.

The first increment of construction is scheduled to begin this June and end before students return in the fall. The second increment will begin in June 2014 and finish 15 months later, hopefully in time for the 2015 school year.

Contractor Turner Construction has put the cost of the remodel at $16.94 million. With a total of 113,454 square feet either to be built or renovated, the average cost per square foot came in at $149.

The big ticket item on the list of improvements, and what likely will change the appearance of the school most of all, is a two-story, 21,567-square-foot STEM center that will front the street on the east side of the campus.

"This building is intended to be the high-tech face of the campus providing cutting-edge teaching areas for science, technology, engineering and math," H+K Architects of Reno wrote in their schematic design. "The building includes a flex room for multiple project types, two high-end computer labs, four new science classrooms, and three additional classroom areas."

This new face of the school, however, comes with a hefty price tag: $6.1 million, or $286 per square foot, more than one third of the entire project budget. A tall masonry wall and colonnade will lead visitors along the south end of the new building, through a plaza, and into the existing main building.

Of course, the main building will be very different in three years. The kitchen will be relocated to the southwest corner, and the commons area expanded to 12,610 square feet. Administrative offices will slide west to accommodate a new entrance, and the counseling, registrar and records departments, along with other offices, will be housed in the direction of the current kitchen. Combined, the four measures total about $4.6 million.

Besides a new air system, the main gym will receive telescopic bleachers with molded plastic seats, dedicated aisles, wheelchair seating, and electronic controls, totaling a little more than $900,000. An additional bank of bleachers will be installed on the south side of the gym. Total seating capacity will reach 1,635 when the bleachers are fully extended, or 1,289 during basketball games.

For about $1.1 million, the small gym will get a 22-foot addition on its eastern flank to accommodate a regulation-size basketball court. A makeover of existing space will better facilitate physical education and dance instruction.

Within the existing 100 building, the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps will receive a permanent facility with two classrooms, offices, dressing rooms, storage and an indoor air-gun shooting range. The cost of the new home is estimated at $455,000.

Career and technical education programs will also get a boost in the remodel. The 500 hall will be overhauled with new classrooms, project areas and air system. A 4,294-square-foot welding shop, with 27 welding stations, will be constructed on the north side of the campus. Together, the measures will cost more than $3 million.

Along with individual improvements, restrooms throughout the school will be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"We are using the money the way the KIDS (Keep Improving Douglas Schools) Committee intended," said Board President Sharla Hales, "in ways that represent the community."

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The Record Courier Updated Nov 16, 2012 03:51PM Published Nov 15, 2012 06:23PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.