Wells High School Renovation Project Sub-Committees Formed and Moving Forward

Post date: Feb 03, 2014 2:10:1 PM

According to Wells-Ogunquit CSD Superintendent Ellen Schneider, information has been gathered and meetings held by several sub-committees in recent months to plan and guide the WHS Renovation Project as it moves forward toward construction. These sub-committees include: Educational, Technology, Interior/Exterior Design, Energy, Sustainability & Maintenance, Performing Arts, Athletic Space and Public Relations.

The Educational Sub-Committee continues to establish the layout and needs of the high school’s classrooms. The group is also designing administrative offices and clarifying common areas, teacher work and custodial spaces. In addition, sub-committee members have been meeting with safety experts to design new safety features to be a part of the renovations and additions.

Meanwhile, the Technology Sub-Committee has met with teachers to begin envisioning what will be needed and available for technology within the next two years. At this time teachers have developed a list of their technology related needs.

At their first meeting, the Interior/Exterior Design Sub-Committee was brought up to date on the future layout of the high school. Discussions have focused on common areas for students including lighting and natural views in these spaces. Also discussed was the use of movable walls for some classrooms. The Superintendent and WHS Principal Jim Daly will inspect other buildings which are currently utilizing such walls to determine viability of moveable wall use and acoustical levels. Classroom design and student and faculty restrooms were also discussed.

According to Superintendent Schneider, studies have been commissioned to explore possible energy sources including geothermal, photovoltaics, and natural gas. Once those studies have been completed findings will be shared and discussed with the Energy, Sustainability & Maintenance Sub-Committee. Efforts have also been made to review the availability of Federal grants and third party funding to help with the costs of implementing desired alternative energy systems.

In other developments, school officials met with representatives from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in a public informational meeting at the Wells High School Auditorium on January 14th to review the site plan for public comment prior to submission of the DEP permit application. Once the DEP application is completed, the site plan will be reviewed with local planning and zoning boards.

In addition, studies about school parking and on-campus traffic flow have been completed and will be studied. Also initial discussions with the Wells Fire Department have taken place to review existing water lines and pressures for the new fire protection system to be installed during school renovations. Local utility companies have been contacted by project engineers to review new power installations, possible energy rebate programs, and scheduling of new power services.

In the near future sub-committee meetings will include review of the proposed athletic and performing arts facilities. A goal is to have all of the schematic design work completed by the end of January with design development started and completed by the end of February.

Caption: An architectural view of how Wells High School may look following a major upcoming renovation project planned for Wells High School. Image courtesy of Lavllee Brensinger Architects.