The Daviess County Public Schools Board of Education was given a closer look Tuesday at the design of both of the district's major construction projects.

During a board luncheon, RBS Design Group, the architecture firm leading the project, presented board members with updated renderings of what the addition to Apollo High School and the new Daviess County Middle School will look like. The board previously approved beginning paperwork for both projects to begin, and on Thursday during their regular board meeting will consider for approval design development documents for them.

Board members were pleased with the images of the exteriors of the Apollo addition and the new DCMS, with board chairman Tom Payne telling officials from RBS that he was impressed with the "curb appeal."

When looking at the Apollo drawings, Payne said, "it's extremely handsome and deserving for our students who call that home."

The Apollo addition, which is the next phase of the school's renovation project, will be built at the site of the current student parking and will consist of two wings. That lot will move to the area of the current football stadium with the stadium relocated along Southtown Boulevard.

Twenty-six classrooms will be included in the new addition, and the main entrance to the school will be changed to open along Gemini Drive.

Other renovations that will happen throughout the school, and specifically in each of the pods, will be remodeling of certain classrooms such as science, engineering, home economics and business. Some of those classrooms will now be equipped with labs. The locker bays at the center of each pod are also being considered for removal because students don't use them. In place of those areas will be integrated learning spaces much like the district put in place at College View Middle School.

The kitchen will be remodeled, and the cafeteria will also be expanded.

The preliminary estimated cost of this phase of the Apollo project is $21,958,267.

The estimated completion date of this phase of the Apollo project is August 2021. At that time RBS Design Group officials say they hope to have phase four, which will be the remodel of the existing AHS pods, ready to begin. The estimated time of completion for phase four at this time is 2022.

The new DCMS will be a courtyard-style, with the gymnasium toward the front of the school, along with administrative offices and the cafeteria. Those spaces and identical sixth, seventh, and eighth grade class wings will surround a 45,000-square foot courtyard that also includes an outdoor amphitheater and stage. Each classroom wing will have nine classes, two science labs, four resource rooms and a computer lab. The southwest corner will have band, chorus and music rooms, and the southeast corner will have home economic, Spanish, art and digital art class space.

A significant aspect of the new DCMS building design is the new code-mandated safety areas that every new public school building must have in Kentucky. According to International Emergency Construction Code 500 that has been instituted by the Kentucky Department of Education, any new school buildings built this year are required to have shelter space, or safe areas, that can hold the whole population at the school.

Board members had additional questions about the safe rooms that are to be installed, particularly the safety specifications of each room.

Each wing of the school will have a secured area, or safe room, that can withstand 250 mph winds that can hold at least up to 300 students. These storm areas, or panic rooms, are centrally located in the school. They are self-sufficient in that they have restrooms and their own mechanical space and air units in the event inclement weather or a dramatic event causes students to be in there for a period of time. They are reenforced with extra concrete on all sides, including the ceiling, and have no windows.

Mike Ranney, with RBS Design Group, said the new DCMS will be the first new school building in the state to have these safe rooms.

The early estimated cost of this entire project is $41,967,879, with the building itself estimated to cost $29.3 million, with a completion date by August 2021.

The board meeting will take place 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the DCPS central office, 1622 Southeastern Parkway.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315.

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