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New elementary school takes shape

The dirt hasn't been moved because the ground is frozen, but that doesn't mean plans for Alexandria's new elementary school aren't being chiseled out and finely tuned.

"Things are changing and happening quite rapidly," said Troy Miller of DLR Group, who presented information to Alexandria School District 206 board members and administrators.

Building materials, color schemes and 3-D drawings of the outside of the building were a part of Miller's presentation at Monday night's regular school board meeting.

Miller explained that because of the time line and more importantly, because of energy efficiency, the newly constructed elementary school - or about 75 percent of the exterior of it - would be built using pre-cast concrete walls.

Other schools around the state have also been constructed using this type of building material. A Farmington school was built using about 90 percent pre-cast concrete walls and an Albert Lea school's exterior was built using about 50 percent of the pre-cast material.

Pre-cast, he said, is durable and the district shouldn't have to spend a lot on maintenance and upkeep.

Miller talked about radiant heat and that this type of heating system would be used in the ceiling and in the walls. The reason, he noted, is that it better stabilizes the temperature throughout the entire building.

In addition, the new school will have a displacement ventilation system, which Miller said is most economical - using smaller ducts and fans - and healthier for students.

A 3-D computerized presentation of what the exterior of the building will look like was shown to board members and administrators.

Miller explained the different components including where the cafeteria, gymnasium and media rooms will be, where classrooms will be situated, what wing the district offices will be located in, along with the stage, music room, early childhood education rooms, kitchen, etc.

He also showed color samples of two different types of carpet that will be used, wall panel that will be used for acoustics; woodwork for the doors; paint for the walls; floor and wall tiles for the bathrooms; countertops and quarry tile for the kitchen; and types of windows. The color palette consists of browns, tans, sage green with rust or burnt orange accent.

Miller supplied the district with a detailed estimate summary for the building project, which not only includes the new elementary school, but also the renovations at Garfield Elementary and the purchase of land for a proposed new high school.

The estimated total as of January 28 is roughly $26.3 million - $900,000 over the estimated budget available, which is $25.4 million, but the numbers are still changing.

Development costs are estimated at $1.5 million and includes such fees as waste water expansion ($10,000), planning and zoning ($250), legal ($25,000), surveying and staking ($30,000), state surcharge ($2,000), ground source well field design ($10,000), soils test borings ($27,125) and data cabling ($15,000).

Construction costs are coming in with an estimated $20.2 million price tag and includes such items as concrete ($1.3 million), heating/ventilation/air conditioning ($1.7 million), thermal and moisture protection ($1.2 million), masonry ($954,000), metals ($1.4 million) and plumbing ($908,000).

Because of changes that are taking place on a regular basis during the planning and designing phase - such as construction materials or room sizes - Miller stressed that the dollar figures given are just estimates. Until construction actually begins and contracts are signed, the numbers are really only ballpark figures.

"When you look at what we have designed and where we are, it's pretty good," said Miller.

Dean Anderson, board chair, told Miller that members of the school board, administration and facilities committees are "all feeling positive about where we are [with the plans for the new elementary school]."