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District 24 residents hash out specifics for new school
Stakeholder groups discussed ideas on how to structure the new school site at a meeting April 4. From left, librarian Mary Lynn, food service provider Hazel Schaefer, design team member Todd Kelly and social studies teacher Marty Weber. Photo by Christina George

District 24 residents hash out specifics for new school

Apr 11, 2013 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

SHOSHONI -- Fremont County School District 24 patrons were hands-on April 4 fashioning ideas on how to structure the new school site and how best to use space in the K-12 facility.

"Everybody's going to be generating scheme after scheme," Mike Duff, project manager from Plan One/Architects, told the group at the start of the four-hour design charrette.

Duff explained that participants would be using "playing pieces" made of cardboard representing features such as the football field, parking areas, playgrounds and access points.

Shoshoni is in the early stages of designing a new K-12 school, which is set to open in 2016. The 135,000-square-foot facility will be built on land near the town's airport and will accommodate 540 students.

The meeting April 4 was the beginning of the schematic design process and allowed participants and officials to explore building placement options on the site. They also looked at design concepts for the front area of the building such as the entrance, lobby, commons and gymnasiums.

"This is the most preliminary part," superintendent Tammy Cox said, adding that more meetings will be held. "Then we will get more details in as we go."

Large blueprints of the site covered three tables. The map outlined nearby streets and some features of the location, including a 2 percent slope in the center of the property.

Teachers, board members, community members and administrators discussed how each playing piece should be situated.

Duff and other team members pointed out a few considerations, including wind, utilities, proximity to town and maintaining an east-west axis to help with sunlight exposure.

Todd Kelly, a civil engineer with GDA Engineers, said extending utilities to the site would be a factor. He explained most utilities from town stop at Seventh Street. He said options include running utilities from California or Maple streets.

"Part of the challenge will be extending to the site," Kelly said, adding that finding the shortest avenue is generally better because of cost.

In regard to electricity, Kelly said a possibility is to tap into power lines along Highway 20 toward Thermopolis.

"Depending on how the building is put on the site will dictate utilities," Kelly said. "That is the point of today."

Dustin Spomer of GDA Engineers asked about traffic flow. The group's consensus was that about 75 percent of traffic to the school comes from the Riverton direction, 10 percent comes from the town proper and the remainder comes from the Lysite and Thermopolis areas.

Spomer said it's important to think about traffic that is involved with a K-12 site because of students who drive and younger ones who are dropped off by parents.

Another consideration, Spomer said, was if the community wanted the site to be spread out or compact.

"Also, keep in mind that vehicles and pedestrians don't mix very much," Plan One/Architects president Charlie Van Over said.

Discussion included concern for the safety of students who walk to school and how parking lots should be located in relation to athletic fields, playgrounds and student pick-up/drop-off locations.

"You've got to think about circulation," Spomer told one group.

Plan One/Architects principal Garret Chadwick agreed.

"There's an opportunity to have a pretty balanced site," he said.

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