Animas High School is beginning the process to design a permanent home.
This week, the charter school began community meetings with parents, teachers, students, staff members, the board of directors and other stakeholders to examine what they would like to see in a new, permanent school.
AHS Head of School Sean Woytek said stakeholder meetings will kick off the master planning process. The process is expected to conclude at the end of January, when the school should have a conceptual design with more details about the size of the school, its design features and a cost estimate.
“The meetings this week will examine what are the ideals we’d like to see in a new school. In your dreams, what do you wish you could have in a school?” Woytek said.
Later this month, in meetings planned for Nov. 27 and 28, ideas from this week will be refined and assessed for feasibility to add to the final design.
A design advisory group has also been formed and began meeting this week. Woytek said the design advisory group will make the final design recommendation to the AHS board of directors.
The school has hired Humphries Poli Architects to guide the master planning process.
HPA will conduct the community meetings with stakeholders.
HPA will also conduct a facility assessment and educational programming and space planning analyses.
After assessing community input, HPA will generate several design options for consideration, evaluation and refinement. Once a preferred option is selected, HPA will create preliminary site plans and floor plans and present them along with cost estimates to the design advisory board and the board of directors.
Woytek said once a conceptual design is in hand at the end of January, it will be easier to go to donors to raise funds.
A timeline for construction and eventual opening of the new school won’t be determined until after the master planning process is complete in January, Woytek said.
Currently, the school occupies two temporary buildings in Twin Buttes that provide 30,000 square feet.
But the buildings are aging and at a point when they will need major maintenance for continued use, Woytek said.
“We’re bursting at the seams. We have no ability to add new students. We don’t currently have a cafeteria,” he said.
The temporary buildings also are not ideally compatible to the school’s project-based curriculum that requires flexible space for small and large group projects and specialty labs for arts, sciences and vocational skills.
“The current facilities don’t support what we are doing,” Woytek said.