By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON - —
An architect from FGM told members of the Building Committee of Mt. Vernon Township High School on Monday night that the schematic stage for the construction of the new high school is concluded and officials are now moving toward the development design stage.
FGM representative Greg Brown took the Committee through some of the site plans for the high school, including recent changes that opens up the courtyard and redesigns the fine arts wing, which was moved into an east-west section, allowing for more open space in the courtyard.
"We've come out of the schematic design stage. We are now in the design development stage which will allow us to be more specific on materials and systems," Brown said. He added the design development stage will continue through April.
The design development stage includes such items as meeting with the state fire marshal, developing the interior electricity and ceiling systems, and refining the structural systems, Brown explained.
Brown announced that the square footage of the high school is nearly the same than when the referendum was approved in 2010— about 250,000 square feet — but the new design allows for "more teaching space and less circulation space," Brown said. "The gymnasium, theatre, and classrooms are all larger to accommodate the way teachers wanted to set up classrooms."
The gymnasium will be a stadium type structure, where fans will enter on a higher level and then go down to the seating level. The gym will have a 2,000 person capacity with a "competition floor" that runs north and south. There will actually be two basketball courts in the gym, but it can be turned into one court with a partition between the two floors, Brown explained. There will also be a running track on the second floor of the gymnasium.
Classrooms will be located on the first and second floors, and the administration staff will be located on the first floor. There will be steps and elevators on the main floor to take students and/or visitors to the second floor, it was reported.
There will be three entrances to the school — the main entrance, from the theatre, and for the vocational building. School officials are still in discussions about how students and staff will enter and exit the buildings through various security systems.
All of the classrooms will have daylight, except the study hall and Advanced Placement.
Brown told the Committee they may want to think about what bells and whistles they want for the theatre, and Board Chairman Carl Miller asked about the cost differences between a football field with natural grass vs. artificial turf. Brown estimated a synthetic surface would cost about $600,000, although bids could come in lower based on the quality of the bidders.
The full board will meet for its regular meeting next Tuesday at 7 p.m.