Janesville72.1°

Milton High School could cost $67 million

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Stacy Vogel
May 21, 2008
— The finish line is in sight for the Milton High School Design Team.

That fact was underscored Tuesday as the team refined a preliminary conceptual plan and heard, for the first time, a specific cost estimate.


Craig Uhlenbrauck of Miron Construction estimated a new school could cost $67.2 million if construction starts by fall 2009.


The Milton School Board charged the design team, made of district residents, with presenting two or three design options for a new high school. The district is considering holding a referendum to build a new high school and to rearrange the locations of existing schools because of population growth.


Tuesday, the team chose July 14 as the date it hopes to fulfill that charge.


“We need to cut off (discussion) before we start picking the drapes,” Chairman Bill Wilson told the team as it discussed when it should make its presentation to the board.


Last summer, the board heard estimates that a new high school could cost between $60 million and $80 million, depending on the features included.


Tuesday’s estimate was well within that range. The $67.2 million estimate includes:


-- A $4.4 million pool with locker rooms.


-- A four-station gym.


-- A kitchen to serve the entire district. The kitchen at Milton High School now serves the district, but it’s outdated and too small, said Scott Kramer of Plunkett Raysich Architects.


-- Capacity for 1,200 to 1,500 students in a 350,000-square-foot building. Miron designed the building so it could accommodate 1,800 students simply by adding classroom space, Uhlenbrauck said.


The plan does not include an auditorium. The design team believes the auditorium at the current high school, built in 2003, can serve the new high school as well.


The plan also does not include the cost of moving the middle school into the old high school building. Uhlenbrauck plans to present a cost estimate for that at the team’s Tuesday, June 3, meeting.


Plans and cost estimates still are preliminary, officials stressed. For example, the design team hasn’t decided if it will recommend the school district spend extra on “green” technology such as a geothermal system.


The team probably will offer options to the board by adding or removing features, such as the pool, Wilson said.


The design team believes Milton needs a quality, competition pool, he said. The pool at the current high school isn’t big enough for multi-school competitions and needs more than $1 million in repairs.


However, the school might not have to build the pool. The YMCA of Northern Rock County has included a pool in a conceptual plan for a building in Crossridge Park. The organization might be able to work with the school district to share a pool, whether it’s located at the YMCA facility or the high school, CEO Tom Den Boer told the design team Tuesday.


The school board has not chosen a date for a referendum. Superintendent Peg Ekedahl has said the board probably will look at that decision after hearing the presentation from the design team.


Miron made its estimate based on a fall 2009 construction date, but the district could save $1.7 million by starting in spring 2009, Uhlenbrauck said.


That would require a November 2008 referendum.


WHAT'S NEXT

-- The Milton High School design team plans to hear an estimate for the cost of moving Milton Middle School into the old high school building at its next meeting, Tuesday, June 3.


-- On Thursday, June 12, the design team will hold a public forum to present its work so far and hear from residents with design concerns. If you are interested in speaking at the forum, call Chairman Bill Wilson at (608) 868-9180.


The forum starts at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium, 114 W. High St.


The design team hopes to present its work to the school board Monday, July 14. If it’s not ready by then, it will probably make the presentation in August.



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