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JCPS Board sees designs for renovated high school

JCPS Board sees designs for renovated high school

December 12th, 2017 by Phillip Sitter in Local News

In this Jan. 31, 2014 file photo, students are seen in between classes at Jefferson City High School.

Most of the discussion and presentations at Jefferson City Public Schools' Board of Education meeting Monday night revolved around structures — physical and financial.

The board was presented with the schematic designs of the to-be-renovated current high school on Union Street.

Much of the details of the planned renovations have already been reported: an indoor, largely glass-enclosed connection between the high school and Nichols Career Center that would feature a commons space; north and south main entrances to the building and a library; a re-imagined cafeteria; and an auxiliary gym that will also serve as a storm shelter.

The two dimensional presentation given by DLR Group Senior Associate and Design Leader Craig Serig allowed board members and those present to visually walk through the planned designs for the building as if they were students or staff. A 3-D flyover available via mobile app added to the depth presented.

Some other notable features of the renovated building are what's currently the little theater being transformed into a black box theater — a raised platform surrounded by seating on all sides.

Three new classrooms and a new stairwell are also planned for the building's current inner courtyard — which would still be there just a little smaller. The schematic designs showed outdoor seating for the cafeteria located directly above the new classrooms overlooking the courtyard.

Jason Hoffman, the district's chief operating and financial officer, explained schematic designs detail "here's where the walls are going to be," and capture the general look and feel of the building.

"At first pass, they've done quite a bit of transformation," board President Steve Bruce said, adding he was excited about the outdoor spaces and the allowance for a lot of natural light.

Architects Alliance Principal Architect Cary Gampher told the board the next phase of design on the project will be about even more specific details, and he mentioned a meeting had been held earlier in the day to begin to look at interior finishes.

The board also was presented with its 2016-17 audit that looked at financial structures.

Partner-in-charge Brian Wuertz, CPA at St. Louis-based Kerber, Eck and Braeckel LLP, presented his firm's findings. Wuertz said the district could improve some of its internal controls on purchasing and account oversight — things last year's audit, which was with a different firm, also pointed out. Although, last year's audit did not find any "material weaknesses."

The district noted in audit documents it continues to work on reviewing and improving the noted financial structures with its banking institutions.

Hoffman later said, with regards to the district's insurance wrap-up bundle choice made at the last board meeting, that Travelers Insurance had pulled out of the business of offering such instruments.

However, the district is in discussions with Liberty Insurance, though Hoffman added "I'm not nearly as excited about the proposals that I have with Liberty. We're still evaluating, but we may need to come back and reverse. The good news is, we have the (contractor-controlled option) as a fallback, that's a great deal in savings for us."

Another financial change presented at the board is the cost of adult meals at school cafeterias increasing to $3.50 starting Jan. 1. Hoffman said the change needs to be made to be in compliance with United States Department of Agriculture regulations.