Facility in design, preconstruction phase

A rendering from CBMA Architects of the new Sioux Center High School facility. The building project is in the design and preconstruction planning part of the process before ground breaking can take place.

SIOUX CENTER—The new Sioux Center High School building project is in the design and preconstruction planning part of the process before ground breaking can take place.

CMBA Architects of Sioux City is in charge of design; Carl A Nelson & Co. of Burlington is in charge of the preconstruction planning portion, which includes value engineering.

“Value engineering, as the words imply, is adding value to the project,” said Chris Smith, vice president of construction with Carl A Nelson. “Some components of that are finding ways to reduce the cost. In some cases adding value to the project may mean a slight increase but better efficiencies and payback over time.”

One example of cost savings so far have included reconfiguring the designs a mechanical room mezzanine.

“In doing so allows us to reduce the height of some portions of the building, which reduces the cost,” Smith said.

Another is reconfiguring restroom facilities by consolidating them to reduce the total number of toilets in the building to reduce costs.

Smith said the company also is looking at consolidating equipment for the plumbing and HVAC to make it more efficient.

“The other part of preconstruction process is doing what we call constructibility reviews,” he said. “We’re making sure that what’s being designed and the way it’s being designed is able to be built efficiently.”

New high school facility

A rendering from CBMA Architects of the new Sioux Center High School gym.

A third aspect of the design process involves gathering multiple cost estimates.

“It provides for a good checks and balance to make sure the design that’s progressing is consistent with what they district wants to spend on the project,” Smith said. “The district’s goal is to maximize what they’re able to get for their dollars so we do cost estimates to make sure they’re getting the maximum value.”

The total cost of a proposed new two-story Sioux Center High School is estimated to be $39.6 million.

The school district plans to cover 37 percent or $14.7 million of that cost with 63 percent or $24.9 million through a bond supported by the community in February.

Building the new high school facility is part of the district’s four-facility solution for its growing enrollment.

An auditorium for performing arts is not including in the building project, but the building is being designed so that it could be added on in the future if needed.

Dirt work could begin in the spring on the two-year project. The 2021-22 academic year would be the first year students could use the new facility as well as restructure the grades for the three existing buildings.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be a part of this project,” Smith said. “Sioux Center has tremendous things going for it. What you’re all able to do up there is fairly unprecedented in the state from what we see. We can’t say enough good things about the district and the staff what we’ve met so far as well as the community support and involvement in the project.”

City involvement

The new high school will be built on about two-thirds of the 33 acres of land north of the existing Sioux County Fairgrounds.

The Sioux Center City Council at is regular meeting March 1 discussed seeking input from the Arts & Recreation Council regarding if or how it should be involved in developing the north third of the property.

“The relocation of a gas line and sanitary sewer forced main are two things we know we’ll probably have to do,” said city manager Scott Wynja. “What we’re coming to you and asking for input on is what should be our participation in the development of multipurpose green space, an access road to that area and parking areas to the north of the new school.”

The city council reviewed a bird’s-eye view graphic of the area, showing two multipurpose fields, a 99-space parking lot and two water retention ponds as well as an access road to these spaces connecting 13th Avenue Northeast to 12th Street Northeast.

Wynja said the partially hilly, partially low area will require higher costs, possibly about $4.6 million, to grade it, especially for flat multipurpose green space use such as soccer fields.

Some city council members expressed concerns about the cost and if some features, such as the full access, would be needed or if the amount of parking was necessary.

“I know it’s not ideal ground but what else would go there?” questioned council member Jamie Van Ravenswaay. “This would be perfect space for rec programs. Developing this area would make it usable. If we want those fields in the future, we should do the work now while other work is being done next to it.”

Parks director Lee Van Meeteren said at the meeting more space for recreation programs isn’t a future need, it’s current.

“We had 150 more soccer games last year,” he said. “Adding two more fields would take a load off our existing fields for a while.”

Van Ravenswaay, who also is on the Rec & Arts Council, recommended that council review its needs and present a proposal to the city council on how to use the land with the goal of hearing such feedback by the March 25 meeting to help the school continue moving its project forward.