CUBA CITY—The Cuba City School District is looking at investing in its facilities to better meet the needs of its students. The community is encouraged to attend workshops and meetings on July 13 and 14 to provide input for the designers.
Cuba City Schools hired FEH Design of Dubuque, Iowa, to help create a comprehensive timeline for addressing the school’s needs. FEH Design has completed the assessment of the school’s facilities and is seeking public input on how to move forward. Special meetings were held on June 7 and 14 to review FEH Design’s assessment of the school’s facilities.
On June 14, the attendees helped compile a list of options for the architects to study before the workshop next month.
Those items included:
- HVAC system at the elementary
- HVAC and small classroom addition at the elementary
- HVAC, code updates and small classroom addition at the elementary
- Gymnasium addition at the elementary with renovations to the existing gymnasium to accommodate space needs
- Junior high or middle school wing at the high school or elementary
- New high school gymnasium for practice or competition
- Auditorium with additional cafeteria or multi-purpose space
- New elementary school
- Code updates and remodel elementary school to move noise generators
- Add storage to allow for more technical education space
- Improve STEM at the high school to free up space for middle school at the high school
- Outdoor heated storage
These ideas were generated after several hours of discussion about the condition of the school’s facilities. Noise is a major concern at the elementary school since the walls don’t meet the rafters, allowing noise to travel between classrooms and from the hallway to the classrooms. Kevin Eperly, an architect with FEH Design, said this is also a fire hazard and code violation. The classroom doors at the elementary school also do not meet code because they should open into the hallway, not into the classroom; this could be a fire hazard.
The elementary school also has too few bathrooms for the number of students in the building, and many of those bathrooms are not ADA compliant. At both schools there are leaks in the roofs that need to be addressed. In the high school gymnasium, the bleachers do not meet current code requirements.
“The school district is at a place where they need to make an investment in their facilities,” Eperly said. “There is opportunity because of how some of the state funding rules allow schools to invest in new heating, cooling and ventilating systems. As long as they are energy efficient, they are allowed to exceed the revenue caps for energy efficiency projects.”
Eperly explained how Act 32 was put in place by the state to allow for communities to invest in energy efficient improvements at schools to reduce operating costs at the schools. This program has been abused by schools in the past and may be cut from the next state budget.
“With that in mind, the school board and administrators thought it made a lot of sense to take a long-term view of the facilities, not just replacing the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system,” Eperly said.
FEH Designs will also assess the school’s potential code violations, ADA updates and space needs for this project. Only the energy efficiency upgrades would be funded through Act 32; the remaining projects would go to referendum.
“There have been changes over time,” Eperly said. “The curriculum has changed a lot since these buildings were constructed. Obviously, we didn’t have computers. There are a lot of things to consider.”
At the meetings on July 13 and 14, both at 6 p.m. at the elementary school, several architects will be on hand to draw up concepts citizens may have concerning the school, whether it be removing a wall to create better functionality or adding on to an existing building to provide additional space. Eperly said FEH wants to know what the community has in mind for the future of its school.
Eperly said the largest costs of the project could be mechanical repairs and replacements. He wants to work with the community to determine the best options to move forward with cost effective solutions that meet the needs of the students and staff.