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Plans progress on new Fort Washakie school; construction still a year away

Nov 7, 2013 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

The new K-12 school will cost roughly $54.3 million, with $52.7 million coming from the Wyoming School Facilities Department and $1.6 million from District 21 for enhancements.

The Fremont County School District 21 Board of Trustees is making headway on its designs for the district's new school.

Superintendent Terry Ebert said the design for the new Fort Washakie school began in August, and construction is planned to begin in the fall of 2014.

The new K-12 school will cost roughly $54.3 million. Ebert said $52.7 million would come from the Wyoming School Facilities Department, while $1.6 million would come from District 21 for enhancements.

Ken Mahood, of Ward and Blake Architects, and George Kacan and Gregg Monberg, both of Fanning Howey Designers, met with the board for more than two hours during a recent work session to help make decisions on the school's layout and classroom designs.

Teachers as learners

Monberg said that today's designs have to accommodate changing teaching styles. He said teachers are no longer just teaching but are becoming learners in the classroom as well.

"(We're) designing rooms (that) embrace all of the learning pyramid," Monberg said.

The design included an arched walkway connecting the high school and elementary, a new gym that would include three courts and seat 1,500 people, and a new, two-story high school built on the south side of the school's property.

The board of trustees said they wanted to make sure some details were different.

Chairwoman Kay Ferris said she wanted to make sure the high school has its own identity, and she didn't think the high school students should have access to the rest of the building.

"I don't like it joining all together," she said. "If we have just one silly student, we don't want them gaining access to the whole school. I am thinking

security."

Monberg said there would be security points in place, including locked doors to prevent students from traveling from one school to the other.

High school

To address the high school having its own identity, trustee Clinton Wagon suggested moving the high school to the back of the property on the north side of the school, which would give the illusion of the school being separated.

Ferris and board treasurer Karen King agreed with Wagon, but board vice chairman David Snyder said he liked how the plan was presented.

"I personally like it up front," Snyder said, noting that by keeping the high school in the front, it would protect green space in the back of the building.

Because the majority liked the idea of having the high school behind the building, a design reflecting that change will be brought to the next meeting.

The board also reviewed classroom layouts to see which ones would best fit the new design.

"We are in the very preliminary stages (of planning)," Kacan said, noting that the designers are taking the sections one at a time so changes can be made. "We are just trying to get a handle on things."

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