We’re building excitement! Learn about the Indoor Activities Center Core Planning Group

Core Planning Group guides center design

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smalllogoTo ensure its new Indoor Activities Center is a vibrant addition enjoyed by community members of all ages and interests, Orono Schools has created a Core Planning Group. The group, comprised of 26 community members and seven ad hoc members, met for the first time on January 4.

The Core Planning Group is charged with developing recommendations to the School Board about the layout and features of the 80,000-square-foot building, as well as the quality of the overall space and user experience.

Community members are, in alphabetical order:

  • Chris Barry
  • Jeff Brown
  • Stephen Byrnes
  • Chris Case
  • Gene Couser
  • Jenny Flansburg
  • Glen Gunderson
  • Kim King
  • Jan Guenther-Knutson
  • Joe McPherson
  • George Mileusnic
  • Ann Martin
  • Caleb Olson
  • Allen Overturf
  • Shelley Perkins
  • Steve Ruedisili
  • Kelly Shaughnessy
  • Jane Smith
  • Jake Streich
  • Bob Tunheim
  • Ben Veach
  • Paige Von Bank
  • Mike Wall
  • Jeff Weiland
  • Barry Wohler
  • Mitchell Wolff

In addition to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Orcutt, ad hoc members are:

      • Dave Benson, Orono High School principal
      • Melanie DeLuca, director of Community Education
      • Justin McCoy, coordinator of facilities and safety
      • Bucky Mieras, OHS activities director
      • John Morstad, director of business services
      • Aaron Ruhland, director of learning and accountability

“We were overwhelmed – and thrilled – by both the number and the quality of applicants interested in serving,” Orcutt said. The School Board’s Finance and Facilities Subcommittee reviewed applications and selected members based on a carefully-developed matrix. “I wish we could have included all 63 applicants,” Orcutt added. “They were all that good.”

The initial pool included four current or past chief executive officers/chief financial officers, six business owners and 14 applicants who work in the construction trades, including architects, engineers, general contractors, interior designers and commercial contractors.

From a stakeholder perspective, committee members selected represent a broad range of community organizations and boards, including local government, churches, community service organizations, youth and varsity sports, and the school district.

In addition, membership reflects parents of students ranging in age from preschoolers to Orono High School graduates. The CPG includes a student representative, as well. Additional student input will be solicited by conducting focus groups, meeting with student leadership and administering a general survey.

The first CPG meeting was devoted to introductions and discussing initial criteria. At the next meeting, members will tour similar facilities in other communities or school districts to discuss features they like and don’t like – and why. “It’s not about finding the perfect facility to replicate,” said architect Vaughn Dierks of Wold Architects and Engineers, “but to see what others have done with similar facilities, what they would do differently and to determine what is appropriate for Orono.”

Future CPG meetings will focus on developing preliminary criteria, reviewing diagrams and floor plans, and finalizing criteria and plans. Its work is tentatively slated to be completed in March, when the group will present a recommendation to the School Board. The goal is to ensure that the project is aligned with district goals and community expectations, and falls within the scope, budget and schedule of the project approved by voters. Construction is expected to begin this fall with completion anticipated by the fall of 2018.

Minutes of Core Planning Group meetings and other information related to the construction of the Indoor Activities Center can be found here.

There’s still time to provide your ideas about the Indoor Activities Center. Complete a brief survey here.

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