Wholesale Upgrades Achieve Modern Standards and Boost Student Pride
The finishing touches are being applied to a major overhaul of Redmond High School in time for the upcoming fall semester, after a modernization program totaling close to $10 million which was ushered in with the help of fortuitous timing and prudent management of public funds.
Upgrades to the 200,000 square foot building include voluminous new windows to maximize natural light – offering a striking contrast to the previous ’70’s vintage slits – widened hallways, a new efficient HVAC and hot water heater system and a refinished gymnasium floor along with new bleachers replacing the old wooden ones.
A fresh focal point in the shape of a steel canopied front entry has also been created, replacing a somewhat random series of entrances lacking coherent presence, and administration and support services have been reconfigured and clustered together in a more logical, practical central area flanking the foyer.
The renovation windfall came to light after Redmond School District staggered construction of the 1,400-capacity new Ridgeview High School, funded through a $110 million bond issued in 2008, and achieved significant savings on that project by taking advantage of more competitive conditions in the aftermath of the economic downturn.
The investment in Ridgeview was sanctioned to alleviate overcrowding at Redmond High, but the additional funds freed up also paved the way for a new 600-student facility to replace the aging Evergreen Elementary, and much needed funding for repairs and upgrades of existing schools.
A primary goal of the RHS remodel overseen by selected general contractor Skanska USA was to bring the older institution up to the modern standards employed at the new cross-town high school, which also featured the teaming of Skanska with Portland-based architects Dull Olson Weekes-IBI Group.
Alina Graham, with DOWA-IBI, who worked on the Redmond High project along with associate principal Dan Hess, said, “We wanted to try to create more parity between the existing high school and the new one. Ridgeview is acknowledged as a state-of-the art facility within the state, which made the contrast stand out a little more.
“One goal of the modernization program was for both schools to be at the same level in terms of aesthetics. Other priorities included addressing indoor air quality with new energy efficient mechanical systems, and health and safety areas, including bringing the facility up to current ADA standards; so we were balancing a lot of things.
“The exterior was also re-energized including making the entry, which previously seemed to have changed year-to-year, more prominent and permanent as a fixed focal point.
“We also tried to get windows in every space and windowed hallways to allow borrowed light between the exterior and interior to maximize natural light throughout, and we really worked on opening up the space as much
As part of the initial process a design committee was put together including administrative staff, teachers and students drawn from the school leadership group. Community members were also invited to a series of meetings to share concepts and ideas, with stakeholders voting on priorities over and above the “givens” related to addressing areas like health and safety issues.
Graham said, “One priority that emerged was to optimize the students’ environment and classroom experience as a place to enjoy and boost school pride.
“Another focus was to create a sense of place with the administrative functions in a more ‘welcome center’ style in a central location which is easier to navigate and also ties in counseling alongside the other regular services.
“A complementary path involved givens such as mechanical system upgrades to improve building sustainability and efficiency, and the health and safety improvements to bring the facility up to modern standards.
“The feedback so far seems to have been very positive, with the groups that have toured seemingly excited about the transformation.
“We had a first-rate team involved in the project including the school district and contractor and this was an enjoyable, all-round great collaborative effort.”
Redmond School District Construction Project Manager Jerry Milstead added, “There was a fair amount of disparity between the two high schools so it was a welcome opportunity to carry out some improvements to make this one a little more equal.
“Additions like the new boilers and lighting occupancy sensors will also increase efficiency and save money in the long run as part of replacing somewhat antiquated systems and bringing the facility up to today’s standards.
“Redmond High was designed to accommodate around 1,200 students but had close to 2,000 when the bond was proposed to build Ridgeview in part to alleviate the overcrowding, and currently there is more of a balance of around 800 in each school, with room to cater to future growth.
“Reconfigured administrative offices as part of the modernization program at Redmond High School have also put support services together in a more logical location, and elements such as the widened hallways will improve the overall flow.”
Other features of the overhaul included extensive new flooring, refinishing and sealing the original concrete floors, additional small group breakout areas, as advocated in more contemporary teaching styles, upgraded rest rooms and the addition of softer new seating in the commons area.
Classrooms have been expanded wherever possible, incorporating up-to-date audio-visual systems. Milstead said the new higher efficiency window systems would also be eligible for Department of Energy and Energy Trust Refunds, adding, “We have all been conscious of the taxpayers’ money, and I think Redmond School District has really got a lot of bang for the buck from the original bond issue.
“We were able to use the same people that were involved in the Ridgeview project and between parties like Skanska, the school district, the city and wider community, we had a great team that communicated, coordinated, cooperated and collaborated very well, and it has been a real pleasure to be involved.”
Skanska Project Manager John Williamson said that work on the year-long project began last summer and was phased to allow the school to hold classes while construction was undertaken on the building’s east side until winter break, before moving to the west half for the remainder of the project with students switching to the opposite wing without any break in the curriculum.
Williamson added, “Jerry has been great to work with and Redmond School District has a real asset in him looking over the bond and delivering savings, and the local taxpayers are well served with him at the helm.”
Redmond High Remodel
Property Owner/Developer: Redmond School District
Contractor: SKANSKA USA Building
Project Cost: $10 Million
Square Footage: 200,000
Financing: $110 million bond issued in 2008
Redmond School District Construction Project Manager: Jerry Milstead Skanska
Project Manager: John Williamson
Architect: Dull Olsen Weekes Architects – IBI Group Architects, Inc.
Civil Engineer: Kliewer Engineering & Associates LLC
Structural Engineer: Froelich Consulting Engineers
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: MFIA, Inc.
Technology Engineer: Interface Engineering, Inc.
Acoustical Engineer: Altermatt and Associates, Inc.
Landscaping: Source Landscaping, Inc.
Subcontractors and Suppliers:
ABM Janitorial Services, Alliant Systems, LLC, Bend Commercial Glass, Brandsen Hardwood Floors, Carlson Sign, Eagle Roofing Company, Fabulous Floors, Fremont Millwork, Gowdy Bros Electric, Inc., Jack Robinson & Sons, Inc., MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions, Inc., Northwest School Equipment, NCM Contracting Group LP, Overhead Door Company of Central Oregon, Superior Interiors Inc., Sustainable Flooring Solutions, Tomco Electric, True Line Steel, Inc., W B Painting, Western Partitions Inc., Western States Fire Protection Co., W H Cress Company Inc.