School designers get to work

LIISA MECHAM and two of her children, Alex and Caroline, look at the plans provided by architects Blythe Group. The plans show several options, represented as puzzle pieces, for the construction of the science/vocational classrooms.

Representatives from the Blyth Group, an architectural firm out of Grand Junction, spent Tuesday in Dolores listening to students, parents and community members about what they feel the new construction should look like.

"The students wanted windows," Architect Peter Truman Icenogle said with a smile. "That is something we can do."

Currently, the failing science building on campus has no windows. Voters approved a $3.47 million bond in November, since then the Blyth Group has been hired as the architect firm and Jim Ketter of KPMC has been hired to oversee the project.

"Today was a great process," Ketter said. "The challenge was getting the kids engaged in the process. But they wanted a comfortable commons space and wanted their sinks to work in the science lab and didn't want smells to drift."

They also wanted to be able to walk across campus without going through puddles or mud.

Drainage is going to be a big part of the project, Ketter said.

The Blyth Group presented a two-story concept that seemed to be popular.

"A two-story option reduced the footprint for the building which provides for better future expansion."

Ketter added that the process is just beginning and that Tuesday allowed the group to have a set vision and goals.

"Many were concerned about security, drainage, comfort and a green building," he said.

The group will continue working with design advisory committees.

Ketter also said that they plan to break ground as soon as school lets out and they hope to have students in the classrooms by January of 2014.

School Board Member Jon Kelly was thankful the group was able to tour the campuses after a storm.

"Ice dams are a real problem," he said. "Hopefully that can be addressed."