Cheney Free Press -


School board gets draft Betz Elementary design

Proposal is over what was called for in February bond, changes likely to reduce square footage


September 14, 2017

Cheney School District/ALSC Architects

A conceptual overhead view of the expanded Betz Elementary School is shown above. The new, six-classroom wing is shown at upper left.

Cheney School District board of directors got a look at the preliminary expansion and renovation designs for Betz Elementary School at a school board workshop last Thursday at the district's conference center on Needham Hill.

The key word in this is "preliminary" as school district Superintendent Rob Roettger said changes are likely. The changes are in store because the design is 18.21 percent over the target square footage amount voters agreed to fund when they passed a $52 million district-wide capital facilities bond in February.

"That happens with a lot of projects where you get design creep," Roettger said.

The bond proposal, which was never a firm design, called for seven classrooms, totaling 8,400 square feet, being added to the existing 54,740 square foot, single-story structure. Education specifications produced by a committee of district personnel and officials at ALSC architects and approved by the board this summer, came up with 9,290 square feet. The preliminary design submitted last Thursday totaled an additional 9,930 square feet.

The estimated cost in the bond proposal for the expansion and renovation, which also included installation of a new, more secure main entry way, was $3.2 million. No cost estimate for the draft design was provided in the ALSC documents.

Instead of seven classrooms, the draft design features a new wing of six classrooms added to the building's north side in the direction of the high school. There is also a Direct Intervention room, and a Behavioral Intervention room added to the east end of the existing wing.

ALSC noted that the existing, two-boiler heating system is not adequate to address the loads calculated for the new additions. Both were designed in 2001, and if one failed, the other would only be able to provide half the heating load required under the coldest weather conditions.

ALSC recommended one of the boilers be replaced with a larger unit to "increase the reliability of the heating plant due to age of boilers as well as increase the capacity of the plant."

ALSC also recommended a "small, 25 ton chiller" be installed alongside the existing 100-ton chiller to operate under light loads as well as increase that plant's capacity. However, the district is looking at the feasibility of monitoring the building's cooling capabilities this month, and if that data becomes available and determines the building has lower than anticipated cooling demands, the new chiller might not be needed.

Cheney School District/ALSC Architects

The floor plan of the preliminary draft for the Betz expansion. The new wing is shown middle-right. At the bottom of the left portion is the proposed Direct Intervention room and at far right in the existing wing is the proposed Behavioral Intervention room.

Roettger said discussions will take place over the next week on changes, with a final design scheduled to be delivered to the board at their Sept. 20 meeting. He noted that while there are six classrooms instead of seven in the proposed new wing, the addition of the Direct Intervention room in the wing will replace the school's existing room.

"Once we move it here (new wing), we'll gain a classroom back," Roettger added.

Betz was constructed in 1956, with additions built in 1959, 1992 and 2001. It is the first of three elementary schools in the district - Sunset in Airway Heights and Windsor near Geiger/Marshal the other two - to undergo expansion under the bond.

Salnave Elementary School is scheduled to have a more secure main entry way installed this fall.

If final plans are approved Sept. 20, design work would then be scheduled for completion in October, with construction documents out by November and work potentially scheduled to start in February 2018.

John McCallum can be reached at


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