The design for Richland’s next elementary school will borrow from its namesake — Thomas Jefferson.
Design West architects Brandon Wilm and Kirsten Curtiss said that part of their design will resemble the pillars Jefferson made famous at Monticello and the University of Virginia.
The designs presented for the estimated $18 million school show lights behind stonework to create the illusion of Jeffersonsonian pillars.
The 65,000-square-foot building will hold 630 students and sit on the same George Washington Way lot as the existing version. It is expected to open in August 2018.
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It is the last building included in the district’s $98 million 2013 bond. The district replaced Lewis and Clark, Marcus Whitman and Sacajawea elementary schools; built Orchard Elementary; and is building Leona Marshall Libby Middle School with the rest of the bond money.
In all, the projects will add 130 new classrooms and replace 72 classrooms.
Superintendent Rick Schulte said the state contributed $62 million in matching funds to help pay for the construction. The money allowed the district to replace Jefferson rather than renovating a wing of the old school.
Work is expected to start in March 2017 as crews prepare the site and remove debris from the original 1953 school, said Richard Krasner, the district’s director of facilities and grounds.
By preparing the ground early, Wilm said the district hopes to avoid problems that could delay construction.
Krasner told the board the estimate for the building increased by $600,000. He pinned the adjustment to the rising costs of materials and labor because of an improving economy.
We’ve learned in the past, since this is our last project, our bids have always come in a little under what we’ve estimated. We’re looking at a bunch of different options to make sure we try to stay under budget.
Richard Krasner, Richland School District
“We’ve learned in the past, since this is our last project, our bids have always come in a little under what we’ve estimated,” he said. “We’re looking at a bunch of different options to make sure we try to stay under budget.”
School board President Rick Jansons said the bids on all of the schools have been less than the engineer’s estimate and he expects the same for Jefferson.
“This isn’t a concern. It’s just a notification to the board,” he said.
Richland-based Fowler Construction used the same design for each of the elementary schools.
“(Fowler Construction has) done a great job,” Jansons said.
The design of the new elementary school is going to resemble Lewis and Clark, Marcus Whitman and Sacajawea schools, with 12 classrooms on one side of the two-story structure, and a multipurpose room and gymnasium on the other, Wilm said.
“A lot of the things resemble the windows and the patterns that we have on the sister schools, so we’re not totally going away from that,” Wilm said. “We want to build on that.”
They want to incorporate other Jeffersonian elements into the design, Curtiss said.
“We want to introduce those, but subtly, so how do we do that? We can do it with a timeline ... with quotes in the library,” she said.
Copies of the design are online at bit.ly/JeffersonElementary.