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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Board Favors Two Building Options

Issue Date: December 9, 2020

The Peshtigo School Board held a Board Workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 2 to review the options that Performance Services Inc (PSI) has been putting together for a facilities discussion.

Doreen of PSI stated, "This is our last workshop, but we will be meeting with the Facilities Advisory Committee and will be presenting the financial structure. A newsletter will also be going out with a center spread about the facility, there will be a web page and virtual information about the process. We need to be talking about the school via Advisory Committee members, the board, various types of communication including articles in the Peshtigo Times and feedback from the community and need to be thinking about all the ways to get the word out in the area".

The PSI presentation consisted of a facility study recap, space utilization and programming process for three conceptual solution scenarios including Renovate the existing building, New building on new site or Hybrid solution.

Scenario One is Renovation: This option proposes fully renovating the existing building to maximize the desired program within the existing building footprint. Small additions are proposed to support program needs and parking expansion to supplement displaced parking due to the building expansions.

Scenario Two is New Building: This scenario would involve building a new building on the new site and converting the existing site to green space and a community amenity.

Scenario Three is Hybrid Solution: Like scenario two, this would involve building a new building on the new site. However, portions of the existing High School would remain occupied to allow for a masterplan new facility approach to meet the space program goals and financing limitations. The new design would be masterplanned to accommodate future gym and performing arts additions.

Key takeaways from the three initial concepts include preference for a new building to face north; Envision building to be a two story solution to minimize building footprint and maximize growth opportunities. The site has some characteristics that will have positive impact on construction costs; A need to master plan a future performing arts or other programs and additions to allow for future growth; Prefer main parking lot to be on west side of site; Separation of bus and student vehicular circulation is critical; Spreading out of special classrooms such as science labs and zoning of the Tech Ed department in the rear of the building, which makes sense and dedicated community access to fitness room is also important.

After discussion of the three scenarios, conceptual cost estimates were given for each of the three options: Scenario one renovation projected cost is $29,373,000; Scenario two, new build was projected at $41,275,000 and the last scenario of the Hybrid came in at $45,598,00.

The Board was not in favor of the Hybrid solution, which leaves the options of remodel or new build.

Tony O'Neill, a member of the Facility Advisory Committee then spoke on behalf of the committee, providing a synthesis of feedback from their Nov. 19 meeting.

The synopsis addressed the non-negotiables and must haves in any facility solutions of Educational Programming, Facility Issues and Other Considerations.

The education programs of wants and needs included the need for adequate and appropriate space for academics, emphasis on education, arts and vocational education, a little bit of everything needs to be addressed, including concerns for academic and athletic space, technology updates and the need to meet at least the minimal needs for the programming and athletic spaces.

Facility issues that are challenging and need to be met are HVAC structural issues, energy efficiency and safety without a band-aid situation. We need to provide a flexible long-term solution with versatility with the ability to make changes that does not create a worse situation.

Other items that need to be considered is the need to remember that school is in competition with open enrollment; The solution will raise property values and not just raise taxes; People want to come to Peshtigo Schools so the need is there to give them a reason to come to Peshtigo. The over all consensus was that all models prioritized athletics over academics and we want to reverse that to focus on academics over athletics.

There were many concerns for the remodel/ renovate project with the complexity of construction time frame of 36 months and will not provide gym and auditorium spaces and parking is limited, construction will have to be done while school is in session, hard to teach and learn in a construction environment, with the building being 100 years old it is questionable if the current structure systems will last until renovations are completed and school would be landlocked with limited green space with no consideration for potential future needs. This also limits tech spaces and other classrooms, no additional gym space, no performing arts space, property maxed out; building will not support future population growth, layout is not ideal, does not meet the needs of the middle school students, it is a band-aid fix only and not a long term solution and there would be parking and safety issues.

Also, the existing base building will still be old, no room to expand, roof issues, old systems with parts no longer available and the costs and domino effects of still maintaining an old building structure.

The only concerns of the new build was the need for a new soccer practice field, how do we move forward with presenting a new building to the community to see the need for a new build and the need to stay within the budget cap. The new build would meet all of the wants and needs that were addressed by the CONNECT program and what the students deserve in academics, programming, athletics, classroom and gym space, it allows for future growth and provides a safer environment

The Hybrid option was not a preferred option with additional costs of maintaining two facilities which could create inefficiencies that do not benefit students nor put cost in the best place; increased maintenance costs, would require staffing increase, two buildings to maintain, transporting students between two different buildings, co-ordination of students between two locations, traffic flow issues and concerns with safety.

O'Neill ended with, "Its about what we need and want. We need to look at the different variables and who we are serving, not only the students, but what the community wants and needs are as well. We need to look at the plan and make sure that is what this affects. From the committee perspective, we are are all on the same page, same understanding of challenges and goals with the biggest question of how do we achieve the goals and present to the public".

Superintendent Patrick Rau added, "We are giving options, it is our due diligence and our kids deserve for us to work for it and we need to make every effort we can. We still have a building that doesn't meet the needs of our kids. The biggest drawback with renovation is space constraints. We can improve the living environment but we can't change the site or the zoning. There is a lot to digest. We will need to get more information from the Citizens Advisory Committee".

Doreen Of PSI stated, "You need tp think about this as a process with details to follow".


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