No. 7: New Garden City High School takes shape

12/23/2011

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of 10 stories counting down The Telegram’s top 10 stories of 2011 as chosen by The Telegram staff.

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of 10 stories counting down The Telegram’s top 10 stories of 2011 as chosen by The Telegram staff.

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

Throughout the year, the new Garden City High School has taken shape, with construction ahead of schedule. The project also came in under budget and saw a change in foreman during that process.

In late September, Roy Cessna, USD 457 public information officer, said the school was 80 percent complete and a month ahead of schedule. At that point, according to Cessna, workers were involved with landscaping, completing sidewalks and finishing up rooms. The installation of turf on the football field also had been completed. Later that month, tours of the new school were halted until spring because of flooring and tiles being laid.

As of Christmas break, USD 457 Superintendent Rick Atha said construction still was ahead of schedule and under budget.

"The building will be completed April 1, and the school district takes possession of it April 1," Atha said. "Right now they're going through every room in the building and developing punch lists, which are construction items that need to be corrected which could be painting, an error in the tile, just little odds and ends."

Initially, the project came in at about $3 million under budget.

Asked how contractors were able to stay that far below the budget, Ryan Anderson, Adolphson & Peterson project manager, said the major reason was the economy, which while generally still down, was good for "really competitive bidding."

The $92.5 million project has since come in at $7 million under budget, which allowed the school board to approve construction of a $975,000 ticket/concession/restroom and storage building. This also allowed the asphalt parking to be changed to concrete and for adding artificial turf to the football field, which should save on such future costs. Lead Architect Stewart Nelson of Gibson, Mancini, Carmichael and Nelson noted that maintenance of artificial turf costs much less than natural turf, which requires water among other amenities in an area with a generally dry climate.

Installation of the football field's turf was completed in September. The new stadium will seat 1,500 people and the gymnasium will seat 2,500.

The current high school covers 225,000 square feet, and the new school will be 384,000 square feet on 160 acres with 120 classrooms.

There will be four academies at the new school; Academy of Trade and Health Science, Academy of Arts and Communications, Academy of Public Service and the Ninth Grade Academy. Each career academy will have teachers from different subjects, who will combine their efforts as a means of integrating academic and technical curriculum. Students will be able to participate in different academies each year, with the ultimate purpose of better preparing them for college and careers than traditional educational systems.

School officials also hope the resulting smaller populations of students will increase motivation and decrease drop-out rates.

The Gibson, Mancini, Carmichael and Nelson architectural firm designed the school and contracted with Minnesota-based Adolphson & Peterson Construction. Despite the fact that the company was out of state, Anderson and Steve Ebert, general superintendent of construction, said some 35 to 40 percent of the subcontract work has been done through local companies.

Ebert later left the project to join his son in Denver, at which point Charles Hardman took over as construction foreman.

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