ES School board tweaks design for new high school

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 ~ Updated 12:15 PM
Laura Morrison (above) and Charlie Morrison of Morrison Architecture presented early schematic drawings of the new Eureka Springs High School at a special board meeting held Thursday. She said the drawings will change and evolve over time, and the next task is design development. Kathryn Lucariello / CCN

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Preliminary schematic plans for the new Eureka Springs High School were presented in a special school board meeting Thursday by Laura and Charlie Morrison of Morrison Architecture.

The schematic drawings locate walls, doors and spaces relative to each other and the site.

"This schematic will change and evolve," Laura said.

In the new drawings, space has been consolidated so only one area is two stories, and one small area is three stories.

The vestibule in the first level is designed so that when doors to the main corridor are locked during the day for security, visitors coming through the outside door are directed into the reception area.

Across the hall is the media center that can be opened to the public after hours while the main corridor and reception doors are locked.

The media center will have two computer labs that can be used for distance learning.

"We went with this (plan) with the idea in mind of as much community access after hours as possible," Charlie said.

The "cafetorium" space has been modified so that there is no longer an elevated stage. Instead, the floor is sloped, but the space will accommodate 240 seats in the auditorium section and 96 in the cafeteria area, or up to 180 with different seating. People sitting in the cafeteria would not have a very good view of the stage, Laura said, but there are cafeteria tables that can convert to become bleachers.

The art room has areas for two-dimenstional and three-dimensional art, with an area for potters' wheels, a central area for drawing and painting, and an area along one wall where jewelry work can be done.

Art teacher Jessica Cummings said she found out metal and glass jewelry-making can be done using natural gas instead of propane and asked whether there would be room for eight torches.

She said spaces need to be at least 36 inches wide and two-and-one-half to three feet deep.

"You could put eight spaces in, but you'll lose some storage space, Laura said.

Having a kiln was also discussed and its possible OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliance. Charlie said the teacher would operate the kiln, not the students.

Charlie said the gym is being designed to hold 1,200 seats that will handle 2A and 3A regional tournaments but not state tournaments, which would require a 1,500-seat gym. Board member Rudy Sanchez said more people would be coming for regional tournaments than state events.

Charlie noted the entrance on the Lake Lucerne Road side of the building has been changed so there is one entrance that leads to a small service road that runs alongside the building and takes vehicles to the parking lot and other entrances. Drivers will have only a brief glimpse of the school as they drive down Lake Lucerne Road.

Charlie also said there is a "park-like" area below the back parking lot that could be cleared out and cleaned up.

"It's a wonderful area where you could put picnic tables where kids can eat lunch, supervised," he said.

The kitchen was also discussed. Rebecca Sisco, child nutrition director, asked if the kitchen could be designed so the staff could give cooking demonstrations.

"My preference would be to have no walls at all," she said. "I like an open kitchen so the students can see cooking going on."

Laura said walls could be designed to roll back.

New incoming high school principal Kathy Lavender said there is a need for a parent center to meet Title I guidelines, rather than a study hall. She said the federal Department of Education is looking at such a need.

"I'm against study halls because I don't think kids use them," she said.

"I'm talking about a parent center with a computer, parenting books and job hunting resources."

Laura said such a center had been in the original design but found out it is not required for a school of this size.

But she said it could be accommodated among the spaces set aside for conferences, in-school suspension and the study hall.

The Morrisons said the next stage is design development.

Dirt work has not yet begun at the site, they said.

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