Science building construction set to start Nov. 1

“It was a wishlist,” Biology teacher Brian Granbery says. “We asked for big classrooms, warm water and gas at every lab station, dry racks, glass cabinets, DC power and power outlets all over the place to plug in laptops. And the architects said, ‘Yep, we can do that, we can do that.’”

Turns out they couldn’t. What was initially estimated to be $2.6 million turned out to be nearer to $4 million.

So it was back to the drawing board.

“The district has contracted with two construction firms who will be competing to build the new facility,” CUSD chief business official Rick Blanckmeister says of the current plan. “They will be submitting price quotes by month’s end and have been notified total construction costs should not exceed $2.5 million.”

Many of the initial features were lost in the re-designing of the department, but the classrooms will maintain their large size.

“We don’t want to build a new building that’s sub-par to the building we already have,” Granbery says. “That doesn’t make any sense. We want a great building.”

For fellow science teacher Jason Maas-Baldwin, the classroom size is the most important feature.

“I have maybe 30 percent of the lab space I should have, given the number of students I have,” Maas-Baldwin says. “When you’re doing chemistry, and there are chemicals and fire involved, the idea of cramped space is just not safe for the students.”

Maas-Baldwin, along with other Carmel High science teachers, feels the effects of small classrooms that call safety into question. The new science wing will fix this problem and facilitate safer lab work.

The current plan for the science wing also includes a possible expansion of the parking lot. A new row of parking spots may be added, according to Granbery and the district’s plans for the building.

The remainder of freshman field will become an enclosed green area where students can spend lunches.

Construction is set to be finished by the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

-Alex Burns