(Fort Washakie, Wyo.) – The design phase for future Fort Washakie K-12 school facilities has begun, with a projected construction completion date by August 2016.
New Fremont County School District 21 Superintendent Terry Ebert said architects this week met with stakeholders including, staff, principals, parents and school board members to work on basic layout designs.
Fanning Howey of Casper and Ward + Blake of Jackson are the two firms working together on the project. Ebert said the two were selected earlier this year to design the K-8 facility, but in July the state School Facilities Commission (SFC) granted the go-ahead for the high school along with $900,000 for the design.
Overall, the construction of the facilities are expected to cost between $50 million and $55 million, Ebert said.
He said the SFC dictates sizes of buildings and classrooms based on enrollment numbers and other formulas, but the work done this week will help determine how it is all laid out. From the meetings earlier in the week five basic designs were suggested. At Wednesday night’s Culture Night, more parents and community members were able to provide input on the project, and the designs have been narrowed to the top three.
Ebert said the top three layouts will be taken by the architects and, along with goals outlined by the school board, they will create a more complete design.
“It’s far from being a deep-filled design by any means,” Ebert said of the current status.
Best case scenario, Ebert said the school district plans to break ground on the current campus site in early 2014.
The combined facilities will be roughly 170,000 square-feet with space for just under 1,000 students. Currently, Fort Washakie has a little more than 500. The goal is for the building to be useable up to 50 years into the future, so room for growth is being planned.
Ebert said the district is also working to make the project fiscally efficient over its lifespan. Additionally, he said the facilities will incorporate the local Native American culture. “These buildings are not going to look like the (school) buildings in Lander,” he said.
While new to Fort Washakie, Ebert has been a superintendent of schools for 23 years in districts in Wyoming and Colorado.