Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Questioning "sadly mistaken" about converting gyms to arts at Central, pt 1

Elmbrook, Elmbrook 2008 Referendum, High Schools, Truth

We are now getting into some of the more interesting aspects of our $62.2 million dollar question in this 4th installment from my series on Questioning "sadly mistaken when it comes to the facts".

This posting continues to deal with the HSST and Vote Yes member's comment, "...Academics and the arts will be enhanced because current gym space is being repurposed.  It is more cost effective to build gym additions vs. classroom additions."  

After reading that comment (a concept repeated in the VOTE YES ad too), I wondered, is it more cost effective to build a gym addition rather than just some classrooms? Just off the top of my head, I didn't think so.

Gyms are BIG and TALL. A reader in the construction business suggested they were around 40 feet tall. At the very least they would be 2 stories tall.  Classrooms are what, 12 feet tall--one story? Right there you have a cost per square foot difference.

Let's look at the plans. 

The dark brown to the north is brand new construction--no building was ever  there before. That big area is the new  2 station gym and gym related storage and event lobby.

Square footage = 26,977 square feet (from actual Plunkett Raysich plan).

See the smaller, red outlined area below the old gym? That is Central's Axillary gym (the only gym Central had when it was first built.)  It measures about 100 x 55 feet. Square footage = 5,540 square feet (Dr. Gibson's figure)

This will be converted to a 55 ft. x 45 ft. (2,475 sq. ft.) Black Box Theater and Drama room with 2 dressing rooms and hallways. This seems like a real waste of a large space to me, but that must wait for another day.

Taking the figures from the District's Projected Cost Allocations sheet, Central's New Construction of 28,977 square feet is projected to cost $4,802,384. (There is about 2,000 square feet included in that number for 3 small new special ed. classrooms and a new small entrance way. These structures were not included at all on the Plunkett Raysich Architects' plan I got from the district website.) 

So using the figure from the actual Plunkett Raysich Architects' plan without those other structures, the plan states the new construction to be 26,977 square feet at a construction cost of $165.73/square foot = $4,470,922.

How much is it to "Heavy/major Remodel" the old Aux. gym into the theater complex?

I took 5,540 square feet at a construction cost of $61.46/square foot = $340,515 to convert gym to theater.

Now I never had New Math, but how is it the HSST and the district figured it was cheaper to convert existing gym to classroom, rather than just build the classroom space and be done with it?

How much would it have been to just build the theater addition and leave the Aux. gym alone?

Take 5,540 sq. ft. at $165.73/sq.ft (new construction) = $918,144. Actually, I bet it would be less than that because the theater/classroom addition would only need to be a 1 or 1 1/2 story tall building. According to last year's referendum costs, "Construction cost per square foot for Elmbrook’s referendum run $155.00/sq. ft. for new construction, and $95.00/sq.ft. for heavy remodeling."

So if we use that new classroom construction cost vs. a gym construction remodeling cost, we would get a cost of around $858,700 for a new theater complex addition at Central.

$858,700 for just the new classrooms vs. $4,470,922 for the new gym and we probably could add in the Aux. gym conversion fee there too to make a total of $4,811,437 for new gym and theater complex. Granted, you gain a 1 station gym (you had 3 total to start, now you will have 4). But let's face it, we had a little theater to start with too.

I think you could look at this as a $4 million dollar difference between building just the theater complex classrooms and converting the former gym space to classroom and building the new "more cost effective" gym.

One little surprise (at least to me) of looking on an actual print (I printed it out on a wide format printer) was that the cafeteria stage is going to be demoed. (See the red dotted x on the blue rectangle north of the cafeteria in photo 1.)

So if the referendum passes, the only theater opportunity at Central will be the 2,475 square foot Black Box Theater vs. using the much larger 8,000 sq. ft. cafeteria. Do we really want to do that?

My biggest surprise of looking at a real print came when I noted an outline for "Future 2 Station Gym Addition" directly to the west of the New 2 station gym. Guess they aren't finished with us yet? 

There is some discrepancy between some CGSchmidt figures regarding the costs associated with the Athletics/Physical Ed. costs, but I will save that for another day. (The costs are much higher than I stated in this posting.)

I am not sure what the Vote Yes and HSST groups really meant by stating that "Current gym space is remodeled for academics and arts, as it is more economical to build gyms than classroom additions" in their Vote Yes ad.

If they meant to say that it was not practical to remodel existing classrooms into a gym, Yes, that is a no brainer. But it assumes then we are adding new gyms in the first place.

Seems to me like they were trying to make us think re-purposing gyms to arts was a cheaper way to get arts space?

What else was the steering team told?

Next posting will deal with East's re-purposing of gym to arts. 


Guest posting: Referendum: a blank check to build or add athletic facilities? 

Elmbrook School District Referendum Links:

HSST Meeting Minutes 

Cost Breakdowns of Type of Work (cost per square footage)

Architect's Conceptual High School Floorplans--East and Central

Facility "Needs" comparison of failed 2007 and present 2008 referendums

Key Academic Benefits: click on that subject heading.

Tour Schedule  

Tax Calculator  

Frequently Asked Questions

Elmbrook asks for smaller expansion--JSOnline (Also includes links to past articles)

Still no link to the 2008 Election Edition of the Link. Hope you got your copy.
counter hit xanga

Former 2007 Referendum Facilities Facts Sheets (Still a good read)


The countdown continues: Just 7 days until MILLIONS OF DOLLARS Tuesday!

Email me your thoughts on the $62.2 million dollar referendum.

Links: Brookfield7, Betterbrookfield Vicki Mckenna 




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