The Perkins County Jr.-Sr. High School Addition project has shown to be an extremely valuable project for the Perkins County Public School District and the town of Grant, Nebraska. Grant is a small town located in western Nebraska approximately 20 minutes from the Colorado state line. The County School District was faced with the heavy decision of either reinvesting in their existing Jr. High school building dating back to the 1940s, or building an addition onto their existing Sr. High School and consolidating onto a single site.
This project began with an in-depth building and systems assessment for both the Jr. and Sr. High School buildings with the goal of equipping the District Board and community with enough information to allow them to determine if reinvesting or consolidating would be in the best interest of the district. Ultimately, consolidating the Jr. and Sr. High Schools to a single site allows the reduction of bus travel between sites, coordination of school events using a single site, and allows education spaces to be shared reducing the overall needed footprint for the district.
The design process began by determining the best location for an addition to the existing Sr. High School. From there, staff and community interviews were conducted along with review of school functions to ensure all needed aspects were considered.
The final design included a new gymnasium to allow flexibility for events and practices, new kitchen and commons area to serve both Jr. and Sr. High students as well as being a common gathering space for events, and finally new classroom space for the Jr. High teachers and students. A key design point for the classrooms was to allow for some isolation for the Jr. High Students from the Sr. High students. The design allows for this isolation but also allows those students to flow into the existing school as students become more comfortable with their new environments.
The construction project with all areas included was approximately 34,000 SF and cost the school district $7M. The design process for this project lasted approximately 3 months followed by a 15 month construction period. The project was successfully designed on budget, and construction was completed on schedule. The building envelope, mechanical equipment, and lighting systems were all designed with energy efficiency as the focus, resulting in one of the most energy efficient buildings in the county.
Overall, the feedback from the community has been positive and the teachers and students feel they were provided with an excellent teaching and learning environment.