Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Harrison school administration settles into new building

By Carol McGraw Updated: November 21, 2013 at 9:10 am

You won't see Mary McKinley's cross stitch landscapes in the new $5.5 million Harrison School District 2 administration building.

She has decided to hang some canvases of abstract art over her office desk, where she is executive assistant for Superintendent Andre Spencer and the school board.

"It's more modern, a more updated look, just like the new building," she says. "This is a once in a career experience to work in a new facility."

When you walk through the door, it smells fresh like a new car, she notes..

So far, no one has reported any major coffee or spaghetti lunch spills on the carpet. But of course its only been a couple of weeks since they moved in.

The building was dedicated with an open house Wednesday attended by area dignitaries, including the mayor.

Jennifer Rexrode, D-2 webmaster, is also thrilled with her new work digs. Gone is her small reminder board emblazoned with a handsome TV ad guy. Instead, she's going for a much more elegant zen-like decor complete with a Japanese-style print of a leaf and an ikebana vase holding delicate branches.

Decor aside, the new facility is a dream come because for the first time it places approximately 80 staff members in one building,

This makes work much more efficient and collaborative notes outgoing school board president Deborah Hendrix. Before staff members had to come from several areas in the district for meetings, It also makes it easier for parents to get information in one place.

In the past a nd especially in the past eight months while the building was constructed, employees were jammed into available space in several schools.

The building work was done by Bryan Construction and CSNA Architects.

"They've done a bang up job," Hendrixsaid. She especially likes the new school board meeting room. In the old building the school board sat on a large built-in raised dias which could not be moved and hampered usage of the space.

"The school board meets only once a month for three hours. Now the new room can be used all the time for other meetings and events," she explained.

The building project was paid for by proceeds from the sale of the district-owned Gorman Center to Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The rest of the money, about $700.000, will be used to place wireless technology in schools.

The D-2 campus is located at 1060 Harrison Road, near Lake Avenue and Highway 115 in south Colorado Springs. It also includes smaller and much older buildings for nutrition services, technology and finance.

The two-story building has 35,000 square-feet compared to 11,000 square feet in the old facility, explained Mark Wilsey, director of operations who headed up the project. The building construction was $5.5 million and another one million dollars was spent on a variety of items such as landscaping, furniture and fees.

The building has various security features. When a visitor enters the building, they must stop in a foyer and sign in with the office there. In the old building visitor could often wander around without signing in. In the new building, the doors to the work areas from the foyer can be entered with special key badges.

The building has some green features. Lights that turn off when the rooms are unoccupied. The doors lock automatically when someone leaves. There are solar screens on the windows, and heating and cooling systems positioned for the best use of energy.

A big plus, everyone agrees, are the large windows in the new building. They give enough light so that electric lights don't have to be turned on. But it's the views of Cheyenne Mountain from the west facing windows that are a big draw.

Christine Lyle, D-2 spoksman, is thrilled by her office that looks out on the Pikes Peak Urban Garden locasted just steps away from the building. "It's a great program. Our nutrition department uses some of the produce for our kids."

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Contact Carol McGraw: 636-0371. Twitter @mcgrawatgazette Facebook: Carol McGraw

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