By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Construction on schedule

New Moose Lake Community School building takes shape


Josh Williams

The new Moose Lake Community School building is quickly taking shape, with precast wall panels being erected. According to Mike Gassert of Boldt Construction, if the project continues to go smoothly, the new school may be completed by spring of 2017, which would allow ample time to move into the new building throughout the summer.

Construction of the new school is right on schedule, Mike Gassert of Boldt Construction, the construction managers, told the Moose Lake School Board at a working meeting on Monday, March 14.

The foundation is complete on the elementary and early childhood wings, and the pre-cast exterior panels will be placed by the end of April, Gassert went on to say.

Most of the pre-cast wall panels are done for the high school wing except the center front area.

"We'll be starting on that this week," said Gassert. "It will be done next week."

The bar joists and deck are done over the two gyms, and the roof will be done this week. Bar joists are being installed in the auditorium area, Gassert told the board. Construction will start on the roof over the shop and science areas next week.

"Getting the foundations done was a big help for the project," Gassert said. "The better things flow now, the more time it will give us if there are problems. We'll have time to correct them."

With as smoothly as the project has been going, Gassert said if it continues to go smoothly, it may be possible to have the new school completed in a year, which would be the spring of 2017. Then the school would be available all summer to allow plenty of time to move in.

"That will benefit everyone," he added. "It will be harder to get work crews in the summer, too."

There was some discussion about allowing all of the current students to sign a beam for the new school, as had been proposed by board Chairwoman Kris Lyons, however, more discussion and decisions will take place later.

"We were surprised at how fast the frost came out of the ground," Gassert concluded. "That will help also. We are right on schedule."

Katie Hildebrand from Architectural Resources Inc. (ARI), the architectural firm, answered questions the board members had last month.

One question was about the type of floor tile to be installed in certain areas, such as classrooms. A luxury vinyl tile at $4 a square foot would be $96,000 more expensive than the vinyl tile at $2.50 a square foot on the original plans. Carpet, to be installed in planks instead of squares, would be $4.25 a square foot. Those prices include installation.

The luxury vinyl tile would require more maintenance, she told the board. It would have to be stripped and resealed annually, where the other vinyl tile would not. The heavily used areas, such as the commons, would have a terrazzo floor, which was the most expensive, but the most durable.

Carpet is to be installed in the administrative offices, for the runners down the aisles in the auditorium, and in the elementary commons area. The floor in the seating area of the auditorium would be concrete with epoxy paint applied.

Hildebrand said another option for the floors for the 6,000 square foot science, art, band and choir rooms could be stained concrete instead of tile. The savings would add up to $13,500.

"It would have a different feeling," she said. "We have never done a stained concrete floor, but concrete without stain would be nice but plain."

No decision was made.

The floor would be flat in the band and choir rooms for handicap accessibility, Hildebrand said. Risers would be purchased and placed in those rooms.

Hildebrand showed the plans for the auditorium, stage and features, such as lighting, drapes, outlets and control panels. Lyons, as longtime play director, had specific questions about the stage.

"It will be a smaller stage than we have now," Lyons said. "We'll get used to it."

Hildenbrand said the lighting will be programmed by a representative of the company that installed it and have presets. Various types of lighting configurations, such as for classes, musical performances or theater performances, can be turned on at one time because of the presets.

Besides the controls in the control room, at the center back of the auditorium, it will be possible to control the lighting with an iPhone or iPad, Hildebrand added.

"There is a learning curve to it," she said. "Someone needs to be educated about it."

Overhead doors for both the stage and the scene shop will allow large sections of scenery to be moved in and out. The scene shop is the scenery workspace and storage area behind the stage.

The plans for the two gyms were shown by Hildebrand. Both gyms would have six basketball hoops and motorized bleachers that could be extended or retracted as needed.

The larger gym would have a curtain or a volleyball net that could be dropped down to divide the gym. The larger gym could be set up with two crosswise volleyball or basketball courts, and the smaller gym would have two crosswise volleyball or basketball courts, in the event of a tournament. The bleachers would not be pulled out as far in those cases.

The bleachers would be white molded plastic. Color schemes and designs were discussed.

Windows between the end wall of the larger gym and the commons area have been shown on the plans. Hildebrand displayed options, where the number of windows could be reduced or totally eliminated. The windows could be make opaque at the touch of a button, such as when phy-ed classes are using the gym.

The board members supported the full wall of windows.

"I think they look classy," said board member Julie Peterson. "Those will help separate us from other schools."

"I like them, too," said board member Jamie Jungers. "I want to see what the coaches think. The windows will make us unique in the area."

Hildenbrand said she is preparing a four-bid package, and the last bid package will be for the outdoor athletic fields. A half-million-dollar budget has been set for furnishings, fixtures and equipment.

The school sign, located in front of the current school, is in great shape and could be moved to the new school, said Hildebrand. Or a new sign could be purchased.

Board member Tom Paull pointed out the speed limit on County Road 10 will have to be reduced once school starts in the new building, especially when students are leaving or coming to school.

The next working meeting of the board was set for Monday, April 4, at 4 p.m. to meet with Aaron Hautala of Red House Media. The regular meeting has been set for Monday, March 21 at 5 p.m.


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