Parents get look at Indian Hills renovations that will start after 2011-12 school year begins

Gould Evans architect Adam Sterns gave an overview of the Indian Hills renovation plans.

Local middle school parents on Thursday got a look at renovations proposed to help Indian Hills accommodate the larger student body it will house after Mission Valley closes at the end of this school year.

Overhead view of infrastructure additions planned for Indian Hills. The red areas represent new infrastructure. Click to enlarge.

At a PTA meeting at Indian Hills, Gould Evans architect Adam Sterns presented a handful of drawings laying out the construction projects the district would begin this fall.

The scope of work — which Sterns said would cost a total of $9 million from the district’s capital budget — includes more than a dozen projects, all of which will start this fall, after the 2011-12 school year has gotten under way.

Among the most significant projects are:

  • Building an addition for four new classrooms
  • Adding a new library
  • Converting the current library into computer labs and two new classrooms
  • Constructing an auxiliary gym area as well as a wellness and fitness room
  • Remodeling the school kitchen

Sterns said construction crews would be working with administrators to schedule the construction projects so they caused as little interruption to students and teachers as possible. He said that “time critical” additions, like the classrooms, were likely to be started first in hopes of providing additional teaching space as soon as possible.

Though the major infrastructure additions won’t begin until after the new school year, Indian Hills principal Carla Allen said the district would  also be making a number of modifications over the summer to accommodate the larger student population. These include: adding 100 more lockers, converting a current computer lab into two classrooms, and converting a storage area into a second art room.

A number of parents at the meeting, who had just heard SM East principal Karl Krawitz discuss some of the serious financial challenges coming down the pike, questioned how the district could spend $9 million on building improvements when it was facing multimillion dollar budget deficits.

Allen and Sterns stressed that, under current law, the general operating budgets and capital improvement budgets are strictly separated.

“We’re a partner of the district as architects, but I’m also a district parent as well,” Sterns told the parents. “So I hear you on this issue. Sometimes I sit there and think, why can’t we use this money on teachers? But that’s the way the law is.”

Once the drawings have been finalized, the district will start soliciting bids from contractors. The board of education is expected to choose a contractor for the project in September with work beginning shortly thereafter.