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Plans for Hernando High building coming together

School Board members got their first glimpse Tuesday of plans for Hernando High School's new two-story classroom building.

Architects from Burke, Bales & Mills Associates of Maitland, the firm selected to design the structure, gave a two-hour presentation on the 37,808-square-foot building, which district officials hope will be completed by December 1995.

The building, which carries an estimated price tag of $2.7-million, will house programs for child care, family and consumer science, art, drafting technologies and exceptional student education/educable mentally handicapped students on the ground floor. The second level will have space for life management classes, general classrooms and the communications technology program.

Features include an elevator in the center of the facility, an exterior corridor surrounding three sides of the building and a stairwell on the west, north and south sides of the structure.

Also, teachers and students will share restrooms that will sit off to the side of the classrooms. School officials said sharing the facilities should help to increase cleanliness and decrease vandalism and smoking in the restrooms.

Robert Burke Jr. said his company received opinions from Hernando High Principal Elaine Sullivan and her staff before drawing up the plans. Burke's firm was selected by the district this summer.

The Orange County company replaced the project's original design team, Coastal Engineering Associates of Brooksville and Criswell, Blizzard & Blouin of St. Petersburg, after School Board members became concerned with cost overruns and slow progress on the construction/renovation project at Hernando High. Coastal/Criswell still is involved in some work.

Plans for the two-story building will be completed by the end of November. Bids will go out by mid-December, and proposals are expected in January.

This will be the first major work done since the board put the brakes on the troublesome project at the beginning of the year.

In 1989, the district approved the massive undertaking of overhauling Hernando High and Brooksville Elementary School. Brooksville Elementary was completed last year at a cost of nearly $6-million; the original estimate was $2-million.

School officials had hoped to cover all of the high school work for $12-million. Today, at least that much has already been spent. Officials estimate the remainder of the project will cost another $13-million.

Burke was grilled by School Board members on several concerns they had on issues that have plagued earlier phases of the construction project:

Architect's estimates. In the past, the design team's estimates were too low. The district has a contractual agreement with Burkes, Bales & Mills that states a professional estimating firm must be hired to ensure figures are accurate.

High bids. Three times in the project's history, construction bids have come in too high. David DeWald, director of construction for the district, assured the board that alternates were being built into plans.

Site conditions. To control excessive water on the grounds, the architect will design a drainage system that will tie into the campus' main storm sewer system to prevent flooding on the campus.

Leaky roof. The roof will be sloped and have internal drains in order to prevent potential leaks and water from collecting in one spot.