School Board approves floor plan for Willmar Senior High addition


WILLMAR -- The preliminary floor plan for a physical education addition at Willmar Senior High School has been approved.

The Willmar School Board approved the plan at its meeting Monday afternoon. Bid opening for the project is scheduled for Sept. 8.

The addition of a gymnastics room, a fitness room and a two-court wood floor gymnasium is one of the three major projects in a $52.35 million package of construction and improvement projects for Willmar Public Schools. The plan was approved by the district’s voters in a May 2015 referendum.

Construction is under way for two science classroom additions at Willmar Middle School, with completion scheduled for December. Site preparation for a new elementary school in southeast Willmar began in June.

Other work funded by the referendum includes remodeling in other buildings in the district and $9 million in long-needed maintenance projects.

The Senior High addition is planned for the west end of the building, outside the existing wrestling room, locker rooms and gym.

“We had to maneuver a little bit to stay away from the tennis courts and the geothermal (wells),” said Superintendent Jeff Holm. Some small storage sheds will be relocated.

The geothermal wells are part of the building’s heating and cooling system, so interference with them could have increased the cost of the project.

Board member Mike Reynolds said he was glad that the tennis courts were spared in the plan. “I don’t know where else we would have put those.”

Architect Paul Youngquist said the new gym will be mostly a practice facility with limited room for spectators. The gymnastics room is long enough for vaults and has room for a spring floor. The fitness center will have machines and free weights. Restrooms for men and women are also part of the project.

Youngquist said precast concrete walls will be used in many places. That will make construction more efficient and less dependent on the weather.

Stephen Plantenberg, the project manager, said the estimated cost is with about 3 percent of the $6.4 million budgeted for the Senior High addition in the referendum plan. Plantenberg works for R.A. Morton Construction Managers of St. Cloud. The firm has been hired to oversee construction of the three major projects.

Board member Linda Mathiasen asked how many students could be accommodated in the fitness room. Youngquist said Activities Director Ryan Blahosky has been working on equipment placement and a floor plan for the room. The room will have more room than the current weight room and fitness center, he said.

The Senior High portion of the project is expected to be finished in late September 2017.