SD2 committee sees first schematics for new middle school

2014-03-10T20:37:00Z 2014-03-10T23:25:06Z SD2 committee sees first schematics for new middle schoolBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

School District 2 trustees got their first look on Monday night at models and schematics for the new Heights middle school and for the newly redesigned McKinley and Broadwater elementary schools.

A&E Architects, the Billings firm designing the middle school, presented to SD2’s planning and development committee — which is made up of board trustees — three possible designs for the Heights middle school.

It’s the first of two middle schools to be built by the district. The second will be built on the far West End and will be started next year for a completion date of August 2017. The Heights middle school will be completed in August 2016.

The Heights middle school will be situated at the corner of Bench Boulevard and Barrett Road on an old gravel quarry. The designs include the largest of three ponds found on the property, a feature the district hopes to use for outdoor education.

The three building designs were two stories tall and relatively straight forward.

Two of the designs resemble house keys, with the large anchor area containing offices, a gym and auditorium on one end and a single hallway extending out, with classrooms bunched along the way like teeth on a key.

The third design looked more like a skeleton key. The main area with offices, gym and auditorium anchors the building and a single hallway stretches out, with two classroom pods hanging from it.

In each design main vehicle access to the school has been placed on Barrett Road in an effort to keep Bench Boulevard as congestion-free as possible.

The site also includes five baseball diamonds with a track and field.

Work on Broadwater and McKinley elementary schools will begin on June 9. CTA Architects designed and planned the renovations and new additions to the schools; both buildings are more than 100 years old.

CTA will try to maintain some of the significant features and architecture unique to the buildings, like wainscoting, flooring and doors.

“Intention is to maintain wood floors in both buildings ... and bring them back to their full glory,” CTA representatives told the committee.

Some of the classroom radiators, original to the building, will become obsolete with the new heating and cooling systems. Designers may use them as ornamental features in the renovated buildings.

New buildings also will be constructed at each site. Those buildings will reflect the design of the original schools, but not mimic it, they said.

Work on the two elementary schools is scheduled to be finished by August 2015.

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