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Lovell Chronicle
Lovell , Wyoming
October 7, 2010     Lovell Chronicle
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October 7, 2010

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. =';; .: .... & ! 4 .~ i iiiii ii~!~i ~~ ~.~ ~, ~!!!~i~ ~ ~ii~iiiiiiii~iiiiiiiiiiii~i~ ~/~!~~ '~. ~ iii!iiiiiiiili~ ':~i~i~: '~i!i iiiiiiiiiiiiii!i!~ ~,iii!i! ~ '~:~iiii~i~ ...... ~i~i~i~~: iiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiiii i i iiii ri li BY BRAD DEVEREAUX After more than seven years of planning, the Rocky Mountain Middle/ Senior High School is complete and has been in use for about a month. With the 2010-11 school year beginning Aug. 25, students and staff have been breaking in the facility for more than a month. Superintendant of Schools Shon Hocker said students and staff have been mostly optimistic about the new school despite a few concessions made by district stakeholders. He said there are some adjustments to be :made as the student body switches from 150,000 square feet of space last about 78,000 square feet in the new school, but noted the school is : muc more modern than the former facilities. It s very mac to have ourselves a new state of the art school, Hocker ....... :: building lacks storage space compared to the former Rocky Moun- ::::i iiii i iii :!:: i: i;iiiiiiiiii ii!iii dle School and Rocky Mountain High School, he said, but staff :iiiiiiii iiii ii i iii i ii sting well to the change. Looking on the bright side of the change, said it was a good chance for teachers to look at their supplies and to get rid of some of the old equipment they don't use anymore. The transition has been easier for t~e districtbecause they have a similar setup in Burlington, Hocker said, with grades K through 12 at- tending class in the same building. Burlington has operated that way since 2004, "It's not brand new to us," Hocker said. "We're certainly drawing on the Burlington staffs experience to ease the transition." Hocker said he has two children that are attending class at the new school, and asking them about their thoughts and observations has helped him to get another perspective on how the school is running. Staff met before students arrived for classes to talk about the logistics of having high school and middle school students under one roof. Hocker said the two separate lunches for the middle and high school have been going well, and staff continues to change their routines to see what works best. An adjustment to the RMES schedule to end five minutes later has made it so busses loaded with elementary students won't have to sit and wait for more than a moment for middle and high school students. He said bus schedules have been modified to eliminate two district busses going to the same house. Hocker noted that the long planning process of the school has pre- sented some unique challenges. For example, the district did not have a school resource officer when the plans were made, so the district is having to think about where to put SRO Steve Coleman, who is at the school on a i, { [, t Students walk the halls during the first days of school at the new facility. DAVID PECK semi-daily basis. While most of the school is up and running, students and staff have to has since been pushed back to Oct. 11,15. ..... around a few items that are yet to be completed, Hocker said. Stage Simmons said the district has a one-year window to point out punch i i!iiiii ting, punch list items, and combining files from the previous locations list items to the contractor for repairs. During the next year, they will test the tasks to be completed, he said. Teachers, janitors and other every system in the school as 'i been great during the move, putting in extra time to get their appropriate. Simmons noted ' et up and ready for the school year. that the heating system would They didwhat they had to do to be ready for the first day of school," have to wait until a cold Janu- said. It was quite impressive." cry day to be fully tested and said the community was a big help as well, mentioning a great said the stage would be tested turnout including people outside of the district at the community, move day in August. A MODERN SCHOOL The new school is outfitted with modern systems throughout, facilities director Michael Simmons said. It features a modern design by Plan One Architects, energy efficient windows, low maintenance and long-lasting polished concrete floors, ample insulation, smart boards in every class- room, updated science labs, ADA (handicap) accessible restrooms and a modern stage sound and lighting system with wireless micH. Because of some delays, it took about five years to design the new school, Simmons said. "When you start and stop the process over five years time and change the plans, it creates some challenges," he said. Simmons said the district equipped the school with the newest tech- nology available, but admitted it was tough to design a building meant to be in use for the next 50 years. In early September, construction crews were still working on the building, though the inside was mostly complete for students and staff to use. The wrestling room has been waiting for a mat before it will be ready. The room has been used for construction material storage in the past weeks. track was paved and painted in September and football goal posts put up, though the area won t be ready to host a football game until o ng. Homecoming was originally scheduled for Sept. 20-24, but ........................ ~ during rehearsals for the first Christmas concerts. PULLING ENERGY FROM THE GROUND The new school uses a geo- thermal well for heating and cooling of the building. The system is made up of more than 90 wells that go 400 feet into the ground. Glycol, an or- ganic compound that retains temperature well, is circulated through the pipes. The liquid travels down 400 feet of poly- propylene pipe before making a 180-degree turn to return in another 400 feet to the surface. Ground temperatures at that depth hover around 50-52 degrees, Simmons said. During the summer months, the deep ground is cooler than surface temperatures, but in the win- CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Much of the geothermal well is hidden far below the surface. About one percent of the energy-efficient heating and cooling system is visible above ground, but the heating and cooling is felt throughout the school. The district will also feel the effects of the system, which is expected to make up for up-front costs in energy savings within a decade. II111 October 7, 2010 Rocky Mountain Middle / High School