North Putnam to create ‘collegiate atmosphere’

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

BAINBRIDGE -- The North Putnam School Board, members of North Putnam High School (NPHS) staff and representatives from Stair Associates Engineers/Architects met in a recent meeting to discuss possible repair and renovation projects at NPHS.

Although no official decisions were made, priorities were set, and Stair Associates was asked to return with cost estimates at the board’s next regular meeting Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in the North Putnam Administration Building.

Overall, the main goal is to provide the high school with a “collegiate atmosphere.”

The board named the following priorities in order of importance: HV/AC and controls throughout the building; an outside locker room with renovation of current locker room to agriculture and Project Lead the Way spaces; correcting water filtration issues; electrical work, including installation of a panelboard and main switch gear; and installing fire panels with new horns, strobes and sensors.

Heating and cooling issues received the most discussion. Randy Stair of Stair Associates reported that most components of the current system are past the end of their expected use, and the rest are close to it.

He presented three options to the board: Replacing the old system with new parts in the same places (least expensive, highest maintenance, shortest lifespan); replace units and re-pipe with chilled water supply system (middle cost, maintenance, lifespan); replace units with a geothermal system with heat pumps (most expensive, least maintenance, longest lifespan).

Having voted to use solar power a few years ago, the board was most enthusiastic about the geothermal option, despite cautions from Stair that they still don’t know if it will work for this particular building and could cost between $2.5 and $3 million upfront. He was asked to return with answers to whether this option would work and a more exact cost estimate.

The outside locker room also received a great deal of discussion, mostly as to its size and location. High school Principal Jason Chew said that his best-case scenario would be to demolish the current home football stands and place it there, with the new home stands and football field just behind it.

Athletic Director Roger Busch agreed, adding that inspections would probably reveal the need for new stands in a few years.

However, the board was more favorable to placing it adjacent to the current football concession stand or closer to the softball diamond. The board would like to house four locker rooms in the building, but also discussed adding concessions and restrooms. The board also discussed having a separate building for these additions.

Stair is to return with plans and cost estimates on building placement and adding concessions and restrooms.

Project Lead the Way is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide a “transformative learning experience” by offering “real-world challenges” in computer science, engineering and biomedical science. The program uses a hands-on, activity-, project- and problem-based (APB) approach.

For water filtration issues, the board discussed connecting to the Bainbridge system, which may attract more residential development and more students to the school.

Remodeling projects included adding dedicated spaces for band and choir, a cafe, media center, larger space for administration, weight room, entry canopy and courtyard.

Total cost for all possible repairs and renovations, not including mechanical work, adds up to about $15 million. The board discussed only doing $10 million of the overall project, and completing it in $5 million stages.

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