BV board reviews building plans

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Berryville School Board met with the architect and construction manager at a special meeting Wednesday to review plans for the new sports complex, high school and middle school additions.

Superintendent Owen Powell told the board that one of the first things they needed to decide on was the color of the blocks for the retaining wall, which will be next to the Bobcat Arena.

“They’re starting on that soon,” he said. “The retaining wall will probably be about 50 to 75 feet from the arena, so we want the blocks to match the arena as much as they can.”

Board members asked if it would be possible to have “Bobcats” spelled out in the wall or have two colors of blocks in a band running across the wall.

Jeff Gattis, senior project manager with Nabholz Construction, said the features would probably not work on a retaining wall.

“I would caution that the wall is not the same height all the way across,” he said, “and it would be hard to make ‘Bobcats’ look good in that because it’s a lot of curvy letters.”

The board selected the block color which would most closely match Bobcat Arena.

Steve Elliott, president of Lewis Architects Engineers, then gave the board an update on the construction project, reviewing blueprints for the sports complex, high school and middle school additions.

Powell said he thought putting the new middle school cafeteria and media center on Ferguson Street would be the best option.

“I think we can work out some great drainage that won’t be extremely expensive,” he said.

He said he would also like to keep the cafeteria and media center under one roof if possible.

Board member Kristi Howerton said it was important to figure out the placement of the new cafeteria.

“That was one of the main things that got the bond issue passed,” she said. “We can’t mess up on that.”

Powell said the construction schedule for the new middle school and high school cafeterias is something crucial to consider because the lunch schedule already runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1:40 p.m.

“You have to tear the current high school cafeteria down, then build another cafeteria there,” he said. “All 5-12 students would be eating out of the new high school cafeteria for a year. That would be tough. We’re adding 160 more kids to this campus.”

The board then discussed the new performing arts center, which will be part of the high school.

“Several in the board have asked if we could allow for future growth in the auditorium,” Powell said. “It seats about 600 in the current plan. If we wanted to come back at some point with more seating, is that possible?”

Elliott said it would be difficult.

“We will have acoustic engineers designing the walls and everything,” he said. “That’s not to say that it can’t be done. I’ll need to think about it.”

He advised that Powell and the board members check out Brookland’s auditorium this weekend at the state basketball tournament if possible.

“They did a seating area for like 400,” Elliott said, “and then the rest of it is like folding bleachers that are folded up most of the time. They actually do cheer and dance practice in that area when they fold it back. When they fold those seats out, they’re padded theater seats.”

He said it enables the school to use the space for a variety of purposes.

Powell said he liked the idea of it being a multi-use facility.

“We will get more use out of it this way,” said board member LeeAnn Ashford.

High school principal Donnel Armstrong asked about the placement of a school store in the new high school.

“They have a school store off the cafeteria at Fayetteville,” she said. “Our students will take a class on enterprise and then run the store the following year. We don’t need much space for it.”

Armstrong said the store will sell school apparel.

Howerton said it might be best to have the school store near the office.

“A lot of parents will want to see it, especially since they’re purchasing the items,” she said.

Board member Travis Gregory said having it near the entrance instead of by the cafeteria would also lessen security concerns.

“When talking security, the deeper we get into the building the worse off we are,” he said.

Board member Chad Hipps asked what the plan is to secure the entrances to the new high school.

“There are about five to six entrances,” he said. “How are we going to secure all of these? I don’t want those to just be accessible. I want people to have a key card, fob or something.”

For the entrances students use between classes, Powell said the school could look into having the doors be on a timer.

“We can open the doors while switching classes and have them locked after that,” he said. “If we could somehow get that on a timer, that would be perfect.”

For students who are tardy and get locked out, Armstrong said there could be a sign on the doors letting students know to come to the front office and get a tardy slip.

Board president David Waller said the school could also have a camera at the doors.

“At our office, we have a camera where you can see who’s at the door and buzz them in,” he said.

Elliott said they could discuss security concerns and changes to the blueprint but would need to make decisions soon.

“I’m at the point where our construction crews are about to cut loose,” he said. “We need to finalize plans because we’ve got electricians, mechanical guys and plumbers who will begin work soon. I’m nearing the point of saying ‘This is it.’ We’ll need your approval on this plan soon.”

Elliott said the bids for the sports complex construction will be received on Wednesday, March 14. He said the board will need to have a special meeting to approve the bids.

“If we could get approval on March 16, that puts a lot of pressure on [the construction manager] to get all the bids, get them together and get them evaluated,” he said. “The next week after that is spring break, so we don’t want to go into that week without approving the bids.”

Elliott continued, “We’ll know where we stand on the dirt work and also know the prices for the stadium. We’ll have a revised budget for the high school and revised numbers for the middle school cafeteria and media center.”

The board agreed to meet at 7:30 a.m. Friday, March 16, to approve the bids.

Powell said he would need to review the law to make sure the board can meet in the morning.

“I believe we can as long as personnel is not discussed,” he said. “I will check on that and get back with you all.”

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