With the end of the school year fast approaching, the Mauston School District is readying next steps in the construction and renovation of the $54.8 million referendum project.
Steve Kieckhafer and Doug Kunde, representatives from Plunkett Raysich Architects, and Craig Uhlenbrauck and Less Spindler, representatives from Miron Construction, met with the Mauston School Board March 8 to provide updates on the timeline and design of the new elementary school and other work stemming from the referendum approved by voters in November.
As part of the referendum, the district will update Tech Ed classrooms, renovate and expand iLead Charter classrooms at the high school, improve site safety, traffic flow, and drainage at the main campus, update Olson Middle School, build an addition to and remodel parts of Grayside Elementary School, perform capital maintenance at Lyndon Station Elementary School and each of the other schools in the district, and build a new elementary school, which would include the Mauston Montessori School, at the main campus.
“It’s been two years since the team came together and presented and started with that facilities study,” said Mauston District Administrator Joel Heesch. “Just think of how far we’ve come in two years, it’s amazing.”
The referendum project will include a redesign of the layout of the Mauston main campus. A new 4K-2nd grade school will be built on the location of the current baseball fields to the south of Olson Middle School, while Grayside will have a small addition on the west side of the school and the Mauston High School will receive an addition to the south of the school.
Kieckhafer said the design team has put a lot of research and planning into managing traffic flow safely and efficiently, which will result in some changes to the current parking lots.
The current Olson Middle School parking lot will remain unchanged, while the furthest west parking lot will be reserved for the high school. The parking lot to the north of Grayside Elementary will be converted to a staff parking lot.
A driveway entrance to the west of Olson Middle School, currently used for both Olson and Grayside, will be changed to a one-way bus only entrance. Both Grayside and the new elementary school will have a shared parking lot and drop-off area between the two schools, with a driveway that is accessed from the west along Highway G.
Kieckhafer said the plan removes access between the high school and Grayside through the addition of the specific bus access area, while also minimizing traffic across bus lanes by limiting parking in the lot near the bus access area to staff.
Additional parking areas will be built in the rear of the campus, which will help in accommodating sporting events at the two new baseball fields at the far southern end of the campus and soccer fields near the Highway G entrance.
The new elementary school’s schematic design is finished, according to Kunde, though the design team can still make additional “tweaks” over the next month.
The school is currently designed in the shape of a mirrored “F,” featuring three wings and a centralized area which includes the commons and a gymnasium. Access to the building is from a single point in between Grayside and Olson schools.
A southwestern wing adjacent to the proposed elementary drop-off area will house 4K and kindergarten students, and a southeastern wing will hold 1st/2nd grade students. The Mauston Montessori School will be located in a third wing to the east.
Kunde said the school design will allow local residents access to community assets, like the gymnasium, without being able to access the classrooms. Each of the wings can be shut off from the centralized space using zone doors, while during the school day visitors will have to go through a secure entry sequence at the office to enter the building.
At Grayside Elementary, a new addition will be added to the west side of the building, which will be used by 3rd and 4th grade students. The addition is somewhat smaller than proposed in older design plans, with the resources instead going towards more renovations.
“Pre-referendum graphics started to describe what we wanted to do, (but) didn’t satisfy everything that was needed,” Kieckhafer said. “A lot of needs and programmatic spaces were there, just not quite laid out right.”
The 5th grade students will be located in a renovated space at the north of the building, and special education students will have classrooms near the main entrance.
Westside Elementary will close as planned, while Lyndon Station Elementary will receive capital maintenance updates, including updating the fire alarm, replacing flooring, updating the public announcement system, replacing the roof and masonry work.
Olson Middle and Mauston High School
At Olson Middle School the referendum project will not add any additional square footage to the building, but instead cover capital maintenance and the renovation of existing facilities. Kunde said the school will receive updates to the existing auditorium space and a section of the school will be repurposed for a fabrication lab.
Mauston High School will see extensive renovations to the technology education and career training area, including an addition to allow for new facilities.
“There’s a new addition for the new art room, (because) iLead is taking over the existing art space,” Kieckhafer said. “An expansion of the wood lab, metal, welding, manufacturing, and addition of ag and some classrooms and some entrepreneurial space for Eagle Enterprises.”
The high school will also receive a renovation to the main entryway aimed at making the entrance more secure. A stand alone greenhouse is planned next to the addition for the high school.
Under the preliminary timeline, design work on the project will continue for the next one to two months before a groundbreaking in May or June.
Over the summer months construction will include campus site work from June through August, and additions and renovations to the high school and Grayside Elementary will be constructed from June through December. Construction of the new elementary school will begin in June 2021 and is expected to complete in August 2022.
During June through August in 2022, additional site work will be completed, as well as the capital maintenance improvements to Lyndon Station Elementary, Grayside Elementary, Olson Middle and Mauston High School.
Uhlenbrauck said the current plan is to phase construction, as construction will have to take place during the time students are in school to complete the project on time.
“We can finish the addition, move students in there temporarily while doing renovations,” Uhlenbrauck said.
The project is currently slated for completion in fall 2022, in time for the 2022-2023 school year.
Reach Christopher Jardine on Twitter @ChrisJJardine or contact him at 608-432-6591.