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Community shares input on new WDC High School building

The Perkins+Will planning and design team for the Wadena-Deer Creek High School met with community members on Sept. 21 at WDC Elementary School. More than 100 people from Wadena, Deer Creek and Bluffton turned out for the input meeting on the design of the new high school, sharing their vision and opinions.

A short presentation was given by Perkins+Will to describe the overall planning process and show examples of current middle school and high school facilities they've designed in Minnesota.

Following the presentation, Perkins+Will representatives listened to community suggestions and concerns in smaller breakout groups, organized in five categories: Educational Planning, Building Design, Project Budget and Schedule, Sustainability and Energy, and Community Use.

Following are examples of input by community members as well as information provided by Perkins+Will:

• Budget and Schedule: The construction budget is projected at $30 million. Completion date is tentatively set for August 2012. The planning and design of the school will be approximately eight months, with the construction to take up to 14 months. Demolition of the existing high school will begin in October.

• Site and Building Design: warm and inviting atmosphere, less institutional; school with sense of pride; display areas for student art/murals; good lighting and windows; outdoor classrooms; wide corridors; space for community garden/greenhouse; multiple building materials for visual interest, including wood, stone, metal; video conferencing in classrooms.

• Educational Planning: master plan the site for future preschool to grade 6; plan for future regional school; potential site to include community center; signature programs include agriculture and theater; instructional media center should be heart of the school, include computer labs; flexible facility to allow for changing curriculum and delivery over the next decades.

• Technology: continue interactive white boards program in new school; LCD projection units and voice amplification in classrooms; connectivity throughout the school; security system; plan for enhanced technology curriculum delivery.

• Sustainability and Energy: heat pumps, off-peak generation; green or white roofs; natural environmental areas; high-efficiency lighting; wind turbines/photo voltaics; natural lighting, open corridors, skylights; recycling center; transfer of energy from ice rink; motion sensors/dimming systems; water efficiency in plumbing.

More community, WDC staff and student input meetings are being planned over the next few months during the early design phases of the high school.