Simulative model version of the propsed school campus as seen on the ParkhIll Smith and Cooper.

Graph provided by ParkhIll Smith and Cooper.

By Becky Brewster

Scott Reid, architect with Parkhill, Smith and Cooper, provided the CCAISD Trustees with the results of several months of planning, meetings and site visits to give them a comprehensive look at the nearly completed final design for the new K-12 campus. Reid noted that PSC incorporated the comments from the September board meeting regarding the “Schematic Design” to begin the “Design Development” phase of the construction project and presented the board with the initial design development booklet. During this phase, the architects will complete the floor plan and site plan and prepare the detailed drawings of all architectural and engineering components of the project.   The project is on schedule to bid the steel and concrete in February 2017 with the rest of the project to be bid in March.  Reid reported that the tennis court area will be bid prior to the other construction in order to get the demolition of the existing tennis courts underway.  The tennis courts will need to be relocated prior to the start of the campus construction.  Asbestos abatement should begin soon after the Christmas holidays. Reid noted that the design phase is very comprehensive, but that the project budget provides for a 5% contingency to allow for unexpected changes that may arise during construction.

As previously reported, the facility will be a two-story structure with an elementary wing, a high school wing and a CATE/middle school wing surrounding a commons area which will serve as the cafeteria dining space accommodating up to 280 seats.   The commons area will have a portable stage which will enhance the possible uses for the room. The campus administrative offices will connect the commons to the locker rooms/gyms, and the library will be located above the administrative offices.   The administrative offices will be the gateway to the rest of the campus.  The main campus entrance will face Fannin Street.  Visitors will have to report to the office and will be buzzed in to the educational wings. Each area will have its own set of doors that can be locked down as needed providing an additional layer of security.


The key to the design is flexibility.  Each wing has a large central learning area surrounded by individual classrooms.  However, as part of the “21st Century Learning Center” environment, most of the walls can be folded back to create a variety of classroom options.  Each wing will be self-contained to include everything that the student needs in its dedicated area such as restrooms, computers, and age-appropriate library books.  This disbursal of library books will allow the campus library to be smaller than what the district has been used to.

The new gym is designed to seat 300 on the home side and 200 on the visitor side with a 50’x84’ basketball court which can be converted into two volleyball courts.  Renovations are also planned for the existing gym.  After viewing the renderings for the interior of the new gym, the Trustees expressed concern about the seating layout noting limited visibility for the first few rows.  Reid noted that in order to raise the first seats above floor level, an accessible ramp would have to be installed to accommodate wheel chairs. The trend in new school construction is to eliminate the raised spectator area. Trustee Rocio Onate emphatically declared that CCAISD “did not want a Balmorhea gym” referencing the new construction that placed the bleachers starting at floor level and severely impeded the view of the court. PCS will take this concern into account and develop possible alternatives.

A portion of the old high school campus from the library east will be converted into the CCAISD administrative offices.  This area will house many functional areas including the Superintendent’s office, the business office, Piems, OT/PT rooms, Speech therapy, the Board room and the district technology and online learning labs.

HB Construction, Construction Manager At Risk, is in the process of pricing out the project to develop an opinion of probable cost.  The project will include two alternate bids to provide for a covered walkway and a covered recreation area which may be incorporated into the project if funds allow.

Supt. Dalia Benavides expressed appreciation to the administrative staff who have worked diligently in maneuvering people and resources to avoid the use of the portable classrooms during the construction which will save the District over $30,000 per portable unit.

The Trustees then approved the purchase of a new scoreboard for the old gym which was damaged during a recent lighting strike. The estimated repairs were approximately $7,000 with insurance covering about $4,800 of this amount.  Since a new scoreboard was planned for this area at a cost of $10,937, the District received approval to use bond funding to supplement the insurance in order to purchase the new scoreboard ahead of schedule thus saving the District money in the long run.

To conclude the meeting, the Trustees approved the final contract with HB Construction for Construction Manager at Risk services for the construction of the new K-12 campus for CCAISD.


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