Barrel roof for YHS main entrance

The design above the main entrance to the expanded/renovated Yuma High School was decided Monday night during the Yuma School District-1 Board of Education’s regular monthly meeting.
It will be a “barrel” roof with a tip of the hat to The Pit, rather than a pitched roof tower that was meant to be a tip of the hat to the towers that rose above both ends of the old Yuma High School that was opened in 1921 and eventually was torn down more than 50 years later.

(COVID-19 related report: Monday night’s meeting was held with all five board members — President Dan Ross, Lindsey Galles, Kim Langley, Thomas Holtorf and Duane Brown — in attendance at the district office located on S. Main St. Superintendent Dianna Chrisman was there in person, along with district secretary Rhonda Metcalfe. Also joining the meeting in person were Chad Rayl, representing owner’s representative Project One, and Pioneer editor Tony Rayl, bringing the total number to nine in the room. A special arrangement was set up with extra tables around the board table so everyone maintained acceptable social distancing. David Kurz of the design/build firm Neenan Archistruction, tasked with bringing the district’s $32 million project to fruition, participated via telephone.)
The design above the main entrance was one of several project-related topics discussed during the meeting, but the only one requiring board action Monday night.

The pitched tower roof. (Neenan Archistruction)

It was explained to the board that the design above the main entrance was key in attracting people to the fact that will be the location to enter the new high school. The main entrance will be aligned with facing directly down Yuma’s Main St., meaning anyone heading south on the main corridor will see the main entrance at the far end. The old Yuma High School towered at that end of town for more than five decades.
The board was told several options were looked at before being narrowed down to the final two presented Monday night — the ones that were described above.
The barrel roof. (Neenan Archistruction)
Board members weighed in during the school project presentation, though the vote on the main entrance design came later in the meeting.
Duane Brown led off the debate, stating he had a strong tie to the historical look, having attended and graduated from the old high school, which was torn down after the current YHS was built and put into operation in the mid-1970s.
“Probably all of us who graduated from that school, or are 55 or older, remember that view,” he said.
He added he liked how the pitched roof tied in with the new ag building that will be located to the west, along the sloped-roof architecture of The Pit.
Board president Dan Ross said he liked the pitched-roof also.
However, Lindsey Galles said she preferred the barrel roof design because it ties in well with The Pit. Kim Langley said she liked the barrel roof also, but added she liked both. Thomas Holtorf said he just thought the pitched roof design looked too much like an Oriental building, such as a pagoda, than the big and imposing guard towers that the original YHS featured.
Brown reiterated the historical look of the pitched roof, adding maybe the design could be modified to better resemble the old towers of the original YHS.
Holtorf noted that the school, which he remembers in his youth, had the balance of two such towers at both ends, while the one tower alone did not carry the same weight, and at least in the architectural drawings had more of a look of a “PF Changs.”
Galles argued that The Pit carries more significance to later generations, as it is a focal point of pride to the community, and so the “barrel” roof ties in much better with what most people associate to the current YHS in regards to architecture.
A decision had to be made during the meeting so Neenan Archirstruction could continue with architectural plans accordingly.
That came later during the board action part of the meeting. The first motion was made to go with the pitched roof design. That was defeated by a 2-3 vote with Ross and Brown in favor, and Langley, Holtorf and Galles against. A motion then was made to go with the barrel roof entrance, which was approved with Holtorf, Galles and Langley voting in favor, and Brown and Ross against.

There was plenty more covered regarding the school project during Monday’s board meeting.
Kurz told the board that the main focus has been on the floor plan in the new wing, which will include science, STEM, Career & Technical Education and the new ag education facility. There also has been a lot of work on the new administration area and main entrance.
Drawings for the new auxiliary gym/PE classroom, which will be located at the south end of the current high school to tie it in with the outdoor sports complex, were presented. The drawings were very attractive, and the structure will make for an excellent PE classroom, including a new weight room facility at the north end with windows looking into the auxiliary gym.
It will include retractable bleachers on one side, a great design on the floor and the walls (including a large “Tribe Pride” sign on the east side), and plenty of windows on the upper walls that will allow in natural light but with glass that will diffuse the light so it will not concentrate on certain areas of the facility.
Auxiliary gym. (Neenan Archistruction)

Kurz said the design effort now is moving into the interior design of the various spaces with the current building, including educational, arts, and community areas.
Then came discussion about the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP).
Chrisman said the GMP will require board approval, which means there likely will have to be a special board meeting before the next monthly meeting in May. There will be two GMPs, one for the work to be done this summer at Yuma Middle School and for the new auxiliary gym/PE classroom at YHS, and then one for the rest of the renovation/expansion work at YHS.
Rayl with Project One said abatement and demolition work still is scheduled to begin in May and June. He said “boots will be on the ground” soon in regards to getting started on the project.
The board was told the junior high classrooms at YMS, where new windows and other upgrades will be done this summer, will be cleared out soon.
By the sounds of it, Yuma-1’s $32 million project will get started on time in the coming month or so if all holds according to plan.