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Firms picked for school renovations

SUMMIT COUNTY – Barely more than a month has passed since local voters decided to hand over $32.5 million to Summit schools for facilities upgrades, but officials are wasting no time getting the projects rolling.The Summit School Board unanimously decided Monday to enter contract negotiations with Slaterpaull Architects to design massive renovations to Summit Middle School and a new career and technical wing at Summit High School. Sixteen firms applied for the job.”They were our last interview, and the energy in the room and the chemistry is a wonderful fit,” superintendent Millie Hamner said. “Slaterpaull has done many local projects. This is a firm that knows mountain communities and mountain environments, and we’re very excited about them.”Slaterpaull is a Denver architecture firm that has been in business since 1972, dreaming up spaces for education, civic activity, telecommunications and religious worship.Board members were particularly impressed by the firm’s approach to the challenges involved in the SMS overhaul.”They put a lot of thought into what we wanted,” board member Bob Bowers said. “They had a plan for phasing the middle school in a way that they would pull it off without interrupting school.”Slaterpaull’s Clayton Cole said the company has considerable experience with projects that involve construction that takes place while school is in session.”That is very much a specialty in our firm,” Cole said. “We often have to figure out some ingenious ways to create new space, put kids in it, and then demolish parts.”The middle school site is so complex, and it’s going to take a different kind of creativity there – not so much of look and feel, but getting the whole space in there to work a lot better, along with keeping it an operating middle school while you’re building a new one. It’s going to be a sequence of events, and we’ll really be working with the community and the school board to determine the best approaches to that expansion,” Cole added.The school district is tentatively aiming to break ground on the middle school project in spring, 2006 and lay the last brick in fall, 2007. The district will spend $22.7 million of the bond money on the middle school.The bulk of the high school expansion project will most likely occur in summer, 2006.Recent Slaterpaull projects include a new East Grand Middle School and a new wing at Middle Park High School, both in Grand County.”I was very satisfied,” said the middle school’s principal, Nancy Karas, who worked closely with the firm. “They’re a very professional organization that will stick with you all the way through the project.”Karas said the architects traveled to schools around the state with East Grand School District officials, examining attractive features in other buildings.”They really respected our community. Everyone in the room had a voice. They brought their expertise to the table, and we brought our desires to the table. It was a two-way street,” Karas said.A top criterion for the Summit School Board in the firm selection process was a commitment to environmentally friendly design, including a willingness to explore renewable energy production options.”We have become deeply immersed in the technical world of sustainable design. We’ll be looking closely at the ways to heat and cool the buildings and to daylight the buildings,” Cole said.Slaterpaull recently hired the same sustainable design consultant that worked on the new Silverthorne Elementary School, which has won statewide recognition for its energy efficiency features.”We’re excited to have the expertise on our team to create continuity on the exciting things the school district started there,” Cole said.The school board also decided Monday to hire TAB Associates of Avon to design renovations to Frisco Elementary School (FES) and a roof replacement for Summit Education Center (SEC, the former Silverthorne Elementary School).That firm designed the recent renovations to Breckenridge Elementary School and Dillon Valley Elementary School. According to Hamner, TAB submitted the most competitive bid for the FES and SEC projects.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at jsutor@summitdaily.com.


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