New Townsend building repositioned

School officials: New plan will cut costs
Alissa Widman Neese
May 1, 2014

 

Townsend Community School officials are heading back to the drawing board.

After unveiling plans in March to construct a new, standalone building behind Margaretta High School, they’re now looking to reposition the project adjacent to the existing building.

The new plan places the structure atop a small parking lot on the high school’s west side, which contains parking spaces for high school seniors.

The changes will delay the project a couple of months, but offer some perks, Townsend Community School director Pete Bartkowiak said.

Officials contend they’ll likely cut utility costs, and the new spot will allow for closer collaboration among the charter school and its sponsor district.

Initially, the plan was to break ground this summer.

“We were worried about losing that parking, but we don’t think it will be an issue now” Bartkowiak said. “After looking at it again, everyone believes this is the best location, even if we took a bit of a wrong trip to get there”

When construction begins, high school seniors will park their cars in the large lot, which has plenty of empty spaces available, with all other students, he said.

All other aspects of the Townsend Community School building project will remain as planned:

•15,000 square feet of floor space, with room for expansion, if necessary.

•A college-style “common area” in the building’s center, for independent learning.

•15 office-style classrooms for one-on-one help with instructors.

•A large computer lab equipped with 60 devices for both Townsend Community School and Margaretta Schools students to complete state-mandated online testing.

•Several administrative offices and conference rooms.

•Rewired electricity for both buildings, which would bring more power to the high school.

Architect Scott Mularoni is designing an updated floor plan for the building project, which should be available at the May 19 Margaretta school board meeting, Bartkowiak said.

The new designs tacked an additional $5,000 onto Townsend Community School’s $24,000 bill from Mularoni, bringing the costs of preparatory work to nearly $30,000 total.

The school’s annual, fluctuating operating budget, typically about $2 million, is based on student enrollment.

The charter school receives about $5,700 in state funds for each student who enrolls, which otherwise would have funded the student’s home district. Margaretta Schools receives three percent of those funds as a sponsor district.

Officials are still waiting on estimates of the project’s total cost, which should be available later this summer, Bartkowiak said. Townsend Community School will pay for all costs associated with the building project, although Margaretta High School students can also use the building and its equipment.