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Design for Fort Washakie schools begins

Sep 3, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

The design phase for the new $50 million Fort Washakie school has begun after the district selected architects for the work.

Ward+Blake Architects of Jackson will partner with Fanning/Howey Associates of Casper to design the project, which is expected to be completed in 2016.

Fremont County School District 21 superintendent Terry Ebert said increased enrollment numbers required that square footage be added to the design, adding $5 million to the total cost of the project that originally had been estimated at $45 million. The district was unified into a K-12 educational system in May 2012.

The two firms will collaborate on this project and incorporate design ideas presented by the district, Ebert said. Community members, school staff, parents and other shareholders met with the firms in four separate brainstorming meetings Monday and Tuesday to develop ideas for the design of the campus.

Ebert said attendees were able to use photos to arrange and place them on an aerial layout of the campus according to what they felt would work best.

"We want to encourage the community members to participate in all this design," Ebert said. "It's a great opportunity, and we want to make sure that we come up with a plan that's going to meet the needs of the kids."

So far, plans for the expected 800 students include two new buildings totaling 180,000 square feet that provide classroom, recreational and extracurricular space.

"Our school board works very closely to move these projects from phase to phase," Ebert said. "We know it's going to be something that's going to be here for a long time."

Secured funding was provided through the Wyoming School Facilities Commission and the Wyoming School Facilities Department. Also approved was 4,000 square feet for cultural events and activities.

Ward+Blake Architects was named Architect of the Year this year at the International Design Awards.

More opportunities for community involvement and input is encouraged and will take place within the next few weeks.

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