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High school plans approved

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By Jesse Osbourne


After much debate, the exterior drawings of the new Washington County High School building have been approved by the school board.

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As has been the case with the exterior drawings, the decision did not come easily.
“What is the sentiment of the community?” Patsy Lester, school board chair, said prior to voting. “I’m here prepared to vote. If that’s not what part of our board agrees to do, we don’t need a split vote on this.”
The board did vote to approve the renderings unanimously. All board members were in attendance.
Kelly Ives and Leonard Bowers from Ross Tarrant Architects presented changes to the exterior drawings to the board prior to the 7 p.m. meeting.
At an earlier public meeting, several changes were suggested to the architects before the drawings were approved.
One change was to the entrance of the building. A pitched roof was requested to add a more historical look to the building.
Ives, architect and project manager at Ross Tarrant Architects, Inc., said there are still opportunities for modifications to the building, including choosing colors.
“But that is a representation of a fairly good idea of what it will look like,” she said.
The reaction of the public was on the mind of board member Pat Clements and Lester.
“Hal, do you think the public is expecting to see something different than what we’ve been seeing? Or are they expecting another review of the exterior of the building,” Clements asked of Hal Goode, executive director of the Springfield-Washington County Economic Development Authority, during the meeting.
Clements said that he has explained to anyone that he has talked to that the footprint of the building is in place.
Goode said he was disappointed with the attendance at the last public meeting to discuss the drawings.
“That’s disappointing when you try and make that push out,” Goode said. “I know all the folks that were there, myself, Kathy (Elliott with Springfield Tourism) and Laurie (Smith, city administrator), really pushed it out to try and get some folks out.”
“I don’t want to surprise (the public), is what I don’t want to do,” Clements said. “I certainly didn’t come in here tonight thinking that I was approving this.”
Bowers, architect and principal-in-charge at Ross Tarrant, said the company needed direction from the board members.
“We have tried to ask for work sessions with the board, but we can’t get you to come and sit down with us to discuss what your likes and what your dislikes are,” Bowers said. “We asked the board to meet with us once before to review these revised drawings, and we had two board members show up. They reviewed it, and they gave us the green light to move forward.”
Bowers said he also wanted to try and keep the project completion on schedule.
“I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying,” Clements said. “I want to make sure that the public is on board. That’s my job as a board member.”
Paul Terrell, principal at Washington County High School, said he was in favor of the revised drawings.
“I just want to say my staff endorses what you see tonight,” Terrell said. “The blueprint, the exterior, all of that.”
Lester asked if it would be OK if another public meeting was held to view the exterior drawings once more before approval.
“We’re not trying to push anything down anybody’s throat,” Bowers said. “But we originally had a schedule that we’re trying to fit you all into.”
“I guess I’m kind of curious what it is you guys anticipate...(the public) would still want,” Ives said. “We’ve responded to exactly what you asked us to change at the last public meeting. I’ve emailed (the drawings) to you guys to share with everyone you know.”
Board member Buffy Mann said she thought the public had ample time to view the plans.
“If this is something that is heavy on the hearts of the community, then they should make an effort to attend these meetings, no matter how short notice,” she said.
More meetings may not be the answer, she said.
“But we could have 10 more meetings,” she said. “It’s Christmas time. It’s the holiday season. There may not be three more additional people show up. And are we going to change the layout for one person that might make a comment? I came prepared tonight to vote on what we have.”
She added that everyone she has talked to is thrilled that a new building is being built.
“They want to know when we’re breaking ground and how soon we’ll be in,” she said. “We can’t do that unless we move on.”
Goode offered to display the drawings at the Dec. 5 SWEDA Christmas dinner, regardless of what decision the board made.
“We’ll have 100 individuals from not only here in Washington County at the manufacturer’s level, but some state folks as well,” Goode said.
Board member Curtis Hamilton urged the board to  vote to approve the drawings.
“There’s still enough changes to where I still think, even if we vote on it tonight, and this is what the exterior is going to look like, there’s still enough,” he said. “We’ve invited the community for this phase, so let’s go on and approve this, then we’ll invite them for the next phase.”
Clements said that if there was an option to still make minor changes, he would be OK with approving the drawings.
Hamilton made a motion to approve the drawings. Mann seconded the motion. The board voted unanimously to accept the drawings, which will now be submitted to the Kentucky Department of Education.
All board members were present. The next regular scheduled board meeting is at 7 p.m. on Dec. 19 at North Washington.