High school expansion plan approved

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The first phase of the Plymouth School District’s $31.9 million building program received Plan Commission approval Thursday.

The commission approved plans for additions and renovations to Plymouth High School to begin this fall.

The major feature will be a multipurpose indoor facility addition at the south end of the school building. It will also include a new fitness center and girls locker room, centralized offices, renovated and expanded kitchen and cafeteria, renovated science labs, renovated and expanded culinary arts classrooms, parking/traffic improvements and secure building entrance.

“We hope to start construction the first week in October,” Craig Sachs of Miron Construction, construction managers for the project, told the commission. “We can facilitate this work while school is going on. The anticipation is that this phase will be done in mid-summer of next year.”

The new addition to the south of the building will also include the new fitness center and girls locker room. Those will be located in the front (west) part of the addition, with a facade to match and extend the existing school building.

“The intent is to match as much as we can the existing building,” Carl Winnekins of Architects Group Limited, designers of the project, explained. It will be similar to what AGL did with their design for the recently-built Food Science and Agriculture Center on the high school campus.

The roofline of the multi-purpose facility will be roughly equal to the roofline for the existing high school auditorium, Sachs said.

Because the area where the multi-purpose facility will be built is lower than the existing school building, it will allow for about 60 feet of height inside the facility, he added.

“It’s an attractive building that fits into the campus,” Sachs assured the commissioners. While it will be sided with metal panels, they will have an embossed finish, “so it doesn’t look like a (plain) metal building.”

Mike Froehlich of Kapur and Associates Engineers went over the general site plan for the work with the commission.

In front of the school, Froehlich said, “We’re going to create two separate loops for traffic to keep buses and parents separated.”

One loop will utilize the entrance at the south end of the school, just north of the parking lot, while the other will use the north entrance in front of the school.

Each of those will become entrance and exit points for separate, unconnected loops, according to Froehlich. Buses will use the north loop and the south one will be for student pick-up and drop-off, as well as school visitors.

“Because there’s so much going on at this site, we want to get out in front of this,” Sachs said in explaining why the high school construction will be done before planned work at Fairview and Parkview elementary schools.

“We will be back with you this fall with the design for the elementary schools,” Sachs told the commission. That work would be scheduled to begin at the end of next school year, with the goal of completing the work during summer vacation.

At the request of Director of Public Works Cathy Austin, the commission approved the plans contingent on her approval of the stormwater management plan, which has not been completed yet.

The commission approved a plan from Great Lakes Cheese to expand their employee parking lot south of their County PP plant. The expansion would add 53 additional parking spaces.

Joe Bronoski of Abacus Architects in Sheboygan said the company will remove some trees along the road to make room for the additional parking, but plans to replace them.

“They’re going to end up with the same looking site, just 35 feet closer to the road,” Bronoski said.

Country Visions Cooperative won approval to reduce the amount of their lot which will be paved from the original plans approved by the commission.

“Normally, we don’t pave the entire site,” Dennis Halbach of Country Visions explained. Instead, only the parking and driveway areas between and south of their buildings will be paved.

The commission approved a certified survey map for the lot at the northwest corner of Kiley Way and Walton Drive.

The lot currently has a commercial strip mall at the west end. The newly created, 3.21-acre vacant lot will be at the corner of Kiley and Walton.

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