Thursday, June 26, 2008

Building the Frame

The "flying steel" is settling in on Area 3! We now have the beginning frame on the roof. The bar joists are in place and soon the roof decking will begin on that area.
This is the shorter classroom wing on the north side of the building. From the front of the school (parking lot level) looking west in this photo it appears to be two floors in height.
But this photo is of the same Area 3 wing from the opposite end showing there are three floors. Notice the floor decking is in place on this wing. Next the re-bar will be added into the decking. Concrete pouring for the floors should begin within the next week! They will be poured from the top down. Third floor floor first ;-)
This is a side view of the same Area 3 wing. I referred to this wing as the "short" wing. You can compare the size (length) of this wing with the next Area 2 wing in this photo. (Once roofing is in place you will easily see the difference.) Area 3 is one of the future "add-on-for-future-growth" features designed into this building. We have design plans and potential for additional growth off the end of that wing should it ever be needed.
As large as the structure looks at this point, the three classroom wings now being framed in are only a part of the total footprint for the main building. This photo is taken from the front southern "corner stake" near the gym. The diagram illustrates the location of the next phases of the project which are Areas 4 and 5. The gyms, cafeteria, commons, offices, theatre, and band room will fill this space!The rectangular area in this photo is the mezzanine above the hallway on the third floor. This is where our mechanical components will be housed for the wings. I find the geometry in the design of line and shape in structures to be quite interesting. Perhaps the viewer will enjoy this composition of line and form creating pattern.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Our New School Cheerleader Retires

Dr. Bobbie Short, our chief cheerleader and co-worker for the new WHS is retiring at the end of this week. Bobbie has supported, co-ordinated, and inspired us in our new school efforts from the start.

Dr. Short joined us on the long bus ride to our new school future. She had us put on our "thinking caps" and hard hats and travel to visit other schools being built across the state to study features and desirable designs for our school.

Bobbie once commented that the "Ground Breaking ceremony (shown above on September 19, 2007) was one of the most perfect moments in my career, the sky was Watauga Blue, the energy was exciting, and I knew the dream was becoming reality from that point forward".

Dr. Short convened and utilized many methods to include as many people as possible in her efforts. She developed a number of committees: the feasibility study committee, the new school planning committee, the education sub-committee, and the core team. Through the involvement of many owners, she garnered support and moved the project forward.
Link to Watauga Democrat article:

"Board member Deborah Miller commended Short for being forward thinking and for encouraging community involvement."

The Core team (photo above) of teachers, parents, administrators, and board members served under her direction to accomplish the work of the new school support and design. Many hours with this team were spent with sleeves rolled up and work on the table to move the project forward.

link to High Country Press article:

"Of course one of the things we’ve spent much time and energy on is the new Watauga High School,” she said. “As I first came into this district, I did a survey including teachers, administrators, parents, board members and community leaders. Overwhelmingly, the response was, ‘What are we going to do about Watauga High School?’

"I recall calling the State Department of Public Construction to speak with someone in building facilities and when I mentioned Watauga High School, the guy said, ‘Lady, they’ve been talking about a new high school there for 20 years.’

“I think the timing was perfect, in terms of moving ahead with a new high school,” Short continued. “Although we’ve been in this process for five years and will be for two more, it’s going to be a facility that we will be so proud of for the next 40 years. This high school is a reality because of the support the community gives education.”

“I have been amazed at the generosity and the support of this community toward education,” she said. “That includes parents, community leaders, school personnel, school board and the county commissioners.”

Where we are today, June 23, 2008
We thank you for your dedication and focus on this project. The countless hours in meetings, presentations to civic and community clubs, visits to schools, sessions with architects and leaders. You have gotten us where we are today. The students, the community, the future of education in Watauga County has been greatly moved forward by your model of support and service.
We will miss you.

But we look forward to seeing you at our

Grand Opening in 2010!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


There were reports of low flying steel on the site this week!

Amazing work to watch and to try understand.....

We have a 100 ton crawler crane on the site for steel erection. These columns, girders, and joists are steel I-beams. Some are 30 feet long. Each of them weighs tons. To watch them lift and swing like a Calder mobile turning in the wind is to see a delicate dance of heavy metal in motion. When the steel has been marked, coded, tied, and centered, the crane lifts as many as five steel beams at a single hoist to the frame. When it is being lifted, all eyes are on the crane boom and cable. On the construction site it is referred to as "Flying Steel"!
In the photo above you will see the steel on the ground organized and ready to lift. The crane is lowering these joist pieces on the second floor of area 3 in this photo. The steel erectors, the men, are settling it into place for bolting.
Even though the beams weigh tons, you will notice the steel workers are able to move and shift and swing it with just one hand. All the while, they are balancing themselves (secured into safety of course) on the beams from the start of the day to the end of the shift. These men communicate with the crane operator via hand signs not radio, just old fashioned manual signaling.
The subtlest movements are possible with the crane operator responding to the gestures of the erectors. Their hand signals are simple points and shifts of the hand, precise, distinct, and fully understood by all working. (no waving arms or frantic pointing like you and I do trying to help a friend back the trailer up! :-)

Our Steel erection company is Roanoke Steel. There are only twelve steel erectors and the crane operator putting together this structure. In one week, we are about to see the entire Area 3 frame in place.

Go by the site and turn right onto Hilltop Drive to watch todays performance of "F~L~Y~I~N~G STEEL".

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Soccer and Football Fields

shelton wilder said... Breaking news......
Many questions have been asked about the status of the soccer field and other Sports Complex features. Dr. Short reconvened the Core Team for a meeting on June 10th. The Core team has recommended an ad-hoc committee meet to discuss, clarify misunderstandings, and involve all parties in the process to develop a plan. The purpose of the meeting will be to advance the effort to provide artificial turf for soccer play and adequate field space for all the sports and PE classes that will use the second field for classes, practice, matches, games, tournaments, and recreation.
June 11, 2008 7:31 AM

A recent visit to the site reveals the near flat grade of the Soccer and Football fields. In earlier photos the amount of rock that remained to be removed from the fields was enormous.

Now we are able to see the surface area of both the Soccer and the football fields clearly defined.

This photo is a view of the Football field as it will be seen when standing at the edge of the main parking lot looking south (toward the greenway trail). Just below the distant edge of the field shown in the picture above is the Soccer field.
The first clear view of the Soccer field and the newly flat grade is shown in this photo. As you can see, the field is in place and has not been "eliminated" from the campus as rumors have suggested. It is a regulation size soccer playing field.

At this point it is being prepared to be a natural grassed surface. Perhaps someday it will be artificially turfed.

"We believe turf can be easily added in the future if desired (and when financially possible). At this point, the slope will probably not contain terraces as the future stand configuration is not known. We believe they can be added without significant difficulty when size and configuration are known" .....(Sfla). This aerial photo from April shows the location and relationship to the total campus of the football and soccer fields. We are building an entire campus and this image helps gain perspective to the total project.
In this photo the viewer is looking north west and standing at the south goal post on the football field. You will note the football field is under grade now. The field will be surrounded by an eight lane track. This field will be artificially turfed.

The width of the entire turfed surface between the straight aways of the track is 208 feet. The width of the turfed field is easily wide enough to contain a regulation soccer field with up to a 195' playing surface. The soccer coach, Doug Kidd has requested a minimum of 195' (65 yards X 116 yards long) of playing surface for soccer.

This football field has been designed to accommodate regulation soccer matches, track meets, and football play. We will paint permanent soccer field lines and football field lines on the turf. Just as ASU stadium has done on their football field. With cooperative scheduling we will play and host football and soccer in this stadium on an artificially turfed field. There will be stadium seating on the home side and stands on the visitors side.

In athletics and throughout the campus we have tried to meet our guidelines of building as least what we now have on our existing campus. We do not have a soccer sized practice field on our current campus. We are proud to be adding a soccer practice field at the new school.

I believe "in time" we will see a soccer stadium on our campus. But for now, we must do what we can to be future planning and yet remain within our budget.