During a work session Thursday night, members of the Neosho R-5 Board of Education received another update on an addition to Neosho High School.

During a work session Thursday night, members of the Neosho R-5 Board of Education received another update on an addition to Neosho High School.

Eric McCune, project manager, and Kristi Beattie, project architect with Sapp Design and Associates, presented an update on the proposed two-story, 18-classroom addition. The nearly 31,000-square-foot addition will also double as a FEMA shelter and will run along the front of the high school.

Cost for the FEMA shelter portion — which contains nine classrooms — and lobbies on the first floor, plus the construction of a second floor shell, is estimated at nearly $3.9 million, with FEMA to reimburse the district just over $1.9 million. An additional nine classrooms can be built as an alternate plan on the second floor at a cost of $1.26 million. Total cost of the high school project is estimated at $5.15 million.

The design will feature elements to break up a long front ribbon present on the building along Neosho Boulevard. These elements include a vertical glass entryway, a large pawprint and the words “Home of the Wildcats” and “Neosho High School,” mesh panels with cutouts noting the building’s address and the initials “NHS,” and vertical color stripes running the height of three large sections of the addition.

Board members debated whether these stripes should be left as the architects proposed — in colors red, blue, and green — be changed to the school colors or be toned down to a more neutral shade, such as beige. Another option tossed about Thursday night was the addition of “claw marks” along the length of the walls, a nod to the school’s “wildcat” mascot. No action was taken as to any changes, and Beattie said a color scheme could be decided at a later date.

The building will change the school’s entryway to a large, glassed in foyer. This lobby will contain an office where those seeking access to the school are “buzzed in,” an office for the school resource officer, and a large, inviting foyer.

Classrooms will be of varying sizes to provide nooks and crannies in the addition instead of a straight corridor. This, McCune said, would eliminate a “shooting zone,” in the event an armed intruder enters the school.
Also in the works is a FEMA shelter project at South Elementary. The South School project would include a FEMA shelter that doubles as a gymnasium, with a stage and seating. An add-on to that project may include enclosing the buildings at the elementary under one roof and widening doorways so that they comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Cost of this project is estimated at $2.3 million, with nearly $953,000 being reimbursed by FEMA. Alternatives with the project, including athletic equipment such as a wooden gym floor, and telescopic bleachers and other finishes such as additional flooring, a stage curtain, and lapendary and acoustic wall panels, will raise the cost another $203,000.

A plan to build a third shelter at Carver Elementary is also in the works. The shelter there would cost nearly $344,000.

The architects plan on going over the design and plans for the high school and South Elementary projects for another two months before sending plans on to FEMA. The project could be let out for bid as early as October, with construction expected to take a year, although eight months may be feasible. On the Carver Elementary project, the architects will be exhibiting different designs to the school board until November, then submitting those plans to FEMA. Bids for this project could be let out as early as February, according to a schedule released Thursday.