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05-08-03: Coldwater school board School plan adds parking, auditeria
The Daily Standard
    COLDWATER - A group of 30-plus Coldwater residents got the first look Wednesday night at preliminary design plans for the Coldwater schools renovation project.
    Representatives from Fanning/-Howey Associates, Celina, and school board officials made a presentation on the plans to the group in the high school commons area.
    "The point here is, we're really very, very early in the design process," said Dan Mater, president and CEO of Fanning/Howey, the engineering firm handling the $30.5 million project. "Half of this process is a communication effort to ensure we're all on the same page."
    Coldwater schools is participating in an Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) program that's sweeping the state with new school buildings. District residents passed a 6.1-mill property tax levy in November to pay for $9.5 million of the planned project. The OSFC is committed to the other $21 million in costs.
    Fanning/Howey representative Kurt South explained the construction plans using three-dimensional and blueprint images.
    Some of the highlights planned for the new and renovated areas of the school facility are: widening Ohio 118 in front of the current school and adding a drop-off area and parking in the current grassy-area; increasing the total parking from 406 to 464 spaces; removing the locker room below "the pit" and "the dungeon" below the bleachers due to handicapped accessibility issues; and adding a new corridor next to the pit that would allow students to move through the school without going through the gym.
    Planned for the junior high school area are: 12 classes in a new two-story addition, new art and music rooms and a new large auditeria (a multi-purpose room combining an auditorium and cafeteria), to be located at the current outside area between the palace and junior high building.
    Terry Liette of Fanning/Howey explained the new auditeria will be the main stage for performances in the district.
    The presenters opened the floor to questions from the crowd and encouraged them to take home questionnaires. Questions from the crowd varied; several balked at the look of a new 26-car parking lot in the front of the building.
    "I know there's some work we still have to do, but that's why we're at this stage," Liette said. "We're going to work very hard to make sure this facility is something that everyone can be proud of."
    Mader told the crowd the next step in the process, the final design development phase, is still many months away. By then, all the details will be worked out, including colors and building materials.


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