New Castle News

October 22, 2013

Photo Gallery, Story: Board gets sneak peek at Lockley school

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — New Castle’s kindergarten students will move into their new school in early January.

The new Lockley Early Learning Center will be finished by then, but first- and second-graders won’t move in until next school year, according to the district’s plans.

This week, the school board toured the construction site on Scott Street. Dust abounds, but the classrooms, cafeteria, gymnasium and other areas of the building are taking colorful shape. Wiring is in and tiling is on the walls in a color scheme that brings a fruit tree to mind.

The colors of green, gold, plum and cranberry are woven through and the 94,131-square-foot building is all on one level.

Four board members took the tour, which was led by David Johnson and Cassandra Renninger of Eckles Architecture. They were David DiGiammarino, Anna Pascarella, Dr. Marilyn K. Berkely and Mark Kirkwood.

Construction manager Ken Kramer of Thomas and Williamson also accompanied them, along with district administrators.

Pascarella said she is impressed with the building.

“Amazing is a good word to describe it all,” she said. “A lot of thought and consideration has gone into what will be best for the educational venue.”

She was impressed with “a lot of little details, like the sinks as children come in from outside to wash their hands and go to respective areas.”

“The colors are going to be great,” she added. “It’s definitely a lot larger than I expected.”

Pascarella said she is impressed with intervention rooms with four different-colored separations to create four cubicles for one-on-one or two-on-one interaction between teachers and students.

She also likes the office entrance where parents can drop off things for their children by handing them through to an employee without entering the main part of the school.

Board president David DiGiammarino also was impressed.

“I think whether you agreed with the project or not, it’s going to be a tremendous learning facility. It’s going to be a very impressive building. When the community, staff and parents walk in there, they’re going to take a step back and be amazed that’s the type of building that their children are going to be educated in.”

He said he also was impressed with the size of the building and the rooms in it.

According to Eckles’ measurements, the library is 2,389 square feet, the gymnasium is 4,812 square feet, the cafeteria is 3,200 square feet and the kitchen is 1,866 square feet.

The new part of the building includes 12 kindergarten classrooms, each with its own bathroom, plus the intervention rooms for kindergarten teachers to share resource space.

The kindergarten classrooms average 850 square feet, while first- and second-grade rooms average 770 square feet in the new addition.

Classrooms in the existing building that is being remodeled are smaller, about 745 square feet.

Most of the flooring will be tile and the common area will have “some wild fruit graphics,” Johnson pointed out.

He noted areas such as the library, computer classrooms and administration offices will be carpeted.

Construction costs based on initial bids were $19,023,733. Other non-construction costs were estimated at $3.7 million. That included a $577,000 contingency fund — money budgeted for change orders to cover unforeseen conditions and things that need to be added.

Johnson pointed out that with two months left in the job, more than half the contingency is remaining.

Change orders so far have totaled $246,000. Of that, $176,000 was spent for unforeseen conditions underground, he said.

For example, the contractors found carbonation soils with a lot of coal that were unsuitable to hold a building or parking lot, and those soils had to be removed.

“Most of it was site work,” Johnson said, “and that’s typical on a job when you don’t know what’s under the ground.”

The architects’ expected completion date for the kindergarten and administration area is Dec. 17, he said, and the rest of the building will be finished in mid-January.