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Mitchell High School plans may not include gymnasiums in initial construction phase

Options for building in phases reviewed by Mitchell Board of Education

Robin Miller, with the architecture firm Schemmer, presented an option for building the new proposed Mitchell High School building in phases as opposed to all at one go. The presentation took place Monday, Aug. 8 at Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy.
Erik Kaufman / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — After initial plans for the new Mitchell High School building came in roughly $20 million high in June, the Mitchell Board of Education got its first look at alternate plans that should help get the project rolling by the start of next year.

That may mean holding off on portions of new athletic facilities — such as a new main gymnasium and auxiliary gymnasium — until more money can be secured, said Joe Graves, superintendent for the Mitchell School District.

“We think we can get the school, the commons and all of those works into this thing, and then what we have to do is figure out how we’re going to build the second phase, which is athletics. It’s possible we get some of that in, or all of that in (in the first phase), but probably not,” Graves said. “So we’re developing plans on how to get phase 2 done.”

The Mitchell Board of Education got a closer look at the proposed alternate plan at its most recent meeting Monday, Aug. 8.

Robin Miller, an architect with Schemmer, an architectural firm based out of Nebraska with offices in Sioux Falls, presented a new base plan for the school, which would replace the current building on Capital Street that was built in 1962.


“At this point we are 90% done with documents that could be put out for pricing,” Miller said.

The new plans offer a base design similar to what was presented in June with several aspects of the original project broken out into phases that can be completed later as the district can secure funds.

081322.n.dr.Highschoolbuildingfloor1 by inforumdocs on Scribd

The base bid will include both two-story classroom wings and the commons plus all other plan additions south of the comments, which will be connected to the existing Mitchell Career & Technical Education Academy building. It will also include all site improvements from the east facade of the new construction extending to the east curb line of Capital Street.

The new base plan includes the demolition of the existing building, and all site utility connections from the west and from the east.

Portions of the project that could still be pushed back in whole or partially include, but are not limited to:

  • The main gymnasium. This addition would add the west, north and east walls, doors and recessed concrete floor with metal acoustic roof deck and the roofing system as detailed, including rain piping. It would also include all HVAC, plumbing, fire protection and electrical systems to complete the systems as designed.
  • One story construction north of the main and auxiliary gymnasiums inclusive of locker rooms, weightlifting, wrestling and competitive dance and other athletic support spaces.
  • Auxiliary gymnasium. This would add the west and south walls and doors of the gym and add the west and south walls and doors of the corridor. It would see the installation of the concrete floor, metal acoustic roof deck and all roofing systems, complete with rain piping. The doors would be located to the west wall of the vestibule. 
  • Gymnastics and cheer gymnasium. This would add the west and south walls and doors and install a concrete floor, and roof and rain piping details.

Miller said changes to the original design include a reduction from roughly 300,000 square feet to roughly 200,000 square feet that was accomplished by reducing the size of some hallways and other spaces. There was also a change in some types of facade blocks, which resulted in a savings of about $417,000.
A tornado shelter was left out of the new design to save costs, but will be added back into the plans should it be put back from the first phase of construction, said Graves. The district is not required to have such a shelter, and the current high school building also does not have one, he said.

081322.n.dr.Highschoolbuildingfloor2 by inforumdocs on Scribd

“That is a major cost savings,” Miller said.

Miller said the next step will be to get solid construction costs that should allow them to go to bid on the project. That will give the district an idea of what will cost what and allow for a more accurate assessment of what can be included in the first round.


Graves said he hoped that the full project, including all the athletic facilities, would be done within five years, depending on how long it takes to secure funding for whatever can’t get done in the initial phase.

The closer designers and contractors get toward solid specifications, the sooner the district will know exactly what can be done in the first phase and what will need to wait for later.

“Probably not,” Graves said when asked if all the alternates could be done in the initial phase. “But pieces of it very well could be.”

He expected the board and other district officials would know more by the board’s September or October meetings on where prices sit and what will stay or go in the first phase of construction. If everything proceeds on schedule, full construction drawings with specifications and details of what would go into the project would be ready in November. Puetz could then price the project before Christmas, with contracts being secured in January or February.

“We could be ready to break ground in March or April, depending on the weather,” Miller said. “We’d like to get it done by the fall of 2024.”

The board has been forced to reevaluate its initial hopes for the building project after initial estimates for the project came in at about $62,175,562, well above the roughly $42 million budget the district has set aside for the project. Some of that extra cost came from recent economic inflation and an ambitious initial design request, representatives from Puetz Design and Build told the board in June.

Terry Aslesen, a member of the board of education, said he would love to have the whole building done at once, but some prioritization will likely need to be done before work starts, especially when it comes to including air conditioning in the first phase.

“Ideally, I’d like to see the whole building be done (in the first phase,) but we need to see what’s available in the budget,” Aslesen said. “The biggest problem for me is everything north of the office — the cafeteria, the kitchen, the gymnasium and accompanying areas — is not air conditioned. That’s my number one priority. If we can’t do that we need to save our money until we can.”


Deb Olson, president of the Mitchell Board of Education and a member of the high school building design committee, said she was hoping to get as much done in the first phase as possible.

“Obviously, we’d like to do everything at one time, but it’s not, as I understand it, realistic to do it right now because of the cost. My hope is that when we open bids and get to that process we’ll have accurate (numbers on cost) and we won't have inflation that continues to escalate until December for when we open bids in January,” Olson said.

She said the high school building design committee is still working on hammering out details on the transfer of kitchen equipment from the old building to the new building and there is ongoing discussion on certain aspects of the locker rooms, but overall the discussion process has gone well.

“I’m happy with the progress so far. I think it’s going very well, and I appreciate everyone’s willingness to work together, be it the activities director, the senior high school principal, kitchen staff, (grounds and maintenance supervisor) John Sieverding. Everyone has just been very professional and worked very hard on it,” Olson said.


The board approved the following personnel moves:

  • The new classified hires of Dawn Conrad, general food service worker at Longfellow Elementary, $14 per hour, effective Aug. 1; Carla Schuldt, paraeducator at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, $14.25 per hour, effective Aug. 10; Trystan McMath, computer network technician, $29,120, effective July 1; Ann Berg, paraeducator at L.B. Williams Elementary, $13.75 per hour, 7 hours daily, effective Aug. 1; Lori Renken, paraeducator at Mitchell Middle School, $13.75 per hour, 7.25 hours daily, effective Aug. 17; Clay Loneman, Title VII tutor, ISS supervisor, $15 per hour, 8 hours daily, effective Aug. 11; Gloria Morales Gomez, custodian, $15 per hour, 8 hours daily, effective Aug. 1; Danica Miller, paraeducator at Mitchell Middle School, $13.75 per hour, 7.25 hours daily, effective Aug. 17; Angela Thompson, paraeducator at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, $14.12 per hour, effective Aug. 17 and Tara Waters, food service at L.B. Williams Elementary, $15.75 per hour, 5.5 hours daily, effective Aug. 9.
  • A change in hours for Cindell Christopher, paradeucator at Mitchell Middle School, 7.25 hours daily to 7.5 hours daily, effective Aug. 17.
  • The transfers of Linda Mayer, kitchen worker at Longfellow Elementary to head cook at Longfellow Elementary, effective Aug. 1; Ashley Sand to 4th/5th teacher 0.5 FTE teacher at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, effective 2022-23 school year; Bridget Huber, 1.0 FTE to 0.5 FTE teacher at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, effective 2022-23 school year; Lacey Baker, paraeducator at Mitchell Middle School to paraeducator at L.B. Williams Elementary, effective 2022-23 school year; Dara Milekovich, Gertie Belle Rogers kitchen manager to paraeducator at Mitchell Middle School, effective 2022-23 school year. 
  • The resignations of Tristan Konechne, food service, effective Aug. 16 and Patti Brown, paraeducator, effective 2022-23 school year.
  • The Mitchell Technical College hires of Michael Plooster, power line construction and maintenance instructor, $72,000, effective Aug. 1; Wendy Royston, public relations and social media specialist, $49,204.45 (pro-rated from July 1, 2022, effective Aug. 8; Sara Delaney, speech language pathology adjunct lab instructor, $3,000, effective Aug. 1; Karl Gosmire, speech language pathology adjunct lab instructor, $3,000, affective Aug. 1; Angie Hanson, speech language pathology adjunct lab instructor, $3,000, effective Aug. 1; Rebecca Harvey, speech language pathology adjunct lab instructor, $3,000, effective Aug. 1; Sarah Raml, registered nursing adjunct clinical instructor, $19,900, effective Aug. 15 and Jenna Vavra, radiologic technology adjunct instructor, $4,000, effective Aug. 22.
  • The Mitchell Technical College resignation of Kassie Marek, registered nursing instructor, effective Aug. 12.
  • The contracted services of Crazy Lady Consulting, consultation for Farm and Ranch Management Program, $3,200 per month and reimbursement for mileage, effective Aug. 1.

Other business

Also at the meeting, the board:

  • Approved conflict of interest waivers for members of the board and administration.
  • Heard board member reports and review board committee assignments by the board president.
  • Heard the superintendent report.
  • Heard public commentary.

The next meeting of the Mitchell Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 22 at 5 p.m. at Longfellow Elementary School.

Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at ekaufman@mitchellrepublic.com.
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