On Tues., Sept. 18, Mike Ranney, the architect for RBS Design Group, brought what he referred to as a “preliminary master plan” for the renovations needed to Apollo High School before the Daviess County School Board.
“We were there to get the board’s input,” Ranney said. “We are their architect. Renderings are just one of the things we do in the design of a building.”
According to Jeanie Cannon, RBS Architectural Intern/Project Coordinator, before RBS begins planning projects they make every effort to speak with “user groups’ to find out what the deficiencies are for the stakeholders.
“The plans that were submitted yesterday were the net result of school staff input, almost exclusively teacher and school administrative input,” Cannon said. “Apollo High School formed a committee; there were various people analyzing each individual piece and part.”
Cannon said this input, along with the facility plan from 2016, helped to inform the design of the proposed renderings, which included everything from traditional classroom size and design to a more expansive parking lot that allowed for improved traffic flow. (See detailed floor plan here.)
Matt Robbins, Superintendent for Daviess County Public Schools, said that these renderings were much like a first draft in the writing process. They afforded the school board the opportunity to ask questions and make comments in an effort to improve and further the renovation and revision process.
Ranney said he wanted to give the board time to digest the proposed renderings, and plans to do additional studies to make it better for everyone involved. He said it is his hope to start construction in fall 2019 and anticipates it taking about a year, with projected completion near fall 2020.
As far as the proposed deadline of the fall of 2020, Robbins said that he is happy to be on a path to getting the project done, but does not feel like there needs to be a time constraint. Robbins said that analyzing the project in an efficient and timely manner and correcting errors along the way in order to “get it right” is in the long-term best interest of everyone involved.
“In the end, our whole desire is to get it right and use the money directed to Apollo High School in the best interest and the most efficient way for the school,” Robbins said.
In May 2017, The Daviess County Board of Education held a public hearing in which they shared their plan for a proposed nickel tax in order to make necessary repairs and construction to two DCPS schools.
Built in 1969, with its most recent major repairs done in 2006, Apollo High School was deemed in “fair condition” and in need of major renovation. It was determined that the estimated cost to complete the project was $20 million.
The “Nickel” is defined as 5.7 cents per $100 of property assessment and was approved as the only option available for the school district to address the long-term school facilities needs. The additional revenue generated from the nickel tax will be used to construct the new Daviess County Middle School.
While Robbins said the school board has a number one location in mind, he said they still have other sites under consideration. Robbins confirmed that the location will be somewhere on the east side of the county and that the board has composed a ranking of the sites in order of which is most advantageous.
“We are currently working on road and regulatory processes regarding transportation, which is a very time-consuming process,” Robbins said.
Robbins said they cannot move forward with a purchase until they can ensure that the roads leading to and from the school are not only secure for parents, staff and school buses, but for public traffic as well.