committee reviews design and location of LHS physical education center | Building industry

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LINCOLN — The physical education center at Lincoln High School is in full swing, with a newly hired design/build team presenting preliminary plans to the LHS Renovation Committee last week.

Ahlborg Construction and RGB Architects shared various options for the physical education center, or PEC, on May 25.

“The Box,” as they call it, or the rectangular footprint of the building, is approximately 21,000 square feet; be located in the field adjacent to Route 116/George Washington Highway.

Early plans call for a free-standing building, located about 60 feet from the south face of the high school, near the existing gymnasium.

After inspecting the terrain, civil engineer Joe Casali recommended rotating the existing athletics throwing cage 15 degrees to the left.

Right now, he said, the school’s record throw would be 252 feet. The current orientation of the throwing cage leaves only 21 feet between a record throw and the PEC. By rotating the cage, he said, they could reach about 83 feet.

“I think there’s room to coexist and have the complex there…to have record throwers without damaging the building,” Casali said.

City Administrator Phil Gould asked if the launch area would be impacted during construction. Besides moving the cage, Casali said 83 feet should be enough for construction crews to operate.

He said he would continue to have access to the main gym there during construction.

Preliminary PEC floor plans show two multi-purpose courts including regulation-sized high school basketball courts, a three-lane perimeter practice track and sprint area, a small storage area, locker rooms and bathrooms.

LHS principal Rob Mezzanotte said he was concerned the design would not meet the school’s existing storage needs for physical education, noting that there is a “shelf life” on the space they currently use within the school.

The committee wondered if it was necessary to connect “the box” to the gymnasium, either by a footbridge extending above the aisle, by a real corridor, or not at all. There was some discussion about whether the connector should be considered part of the PEC project, or later as a separate capital project.

In the end, the committee agreed that “the box” is in the right place, but they need more storage and more information about the connector.

They asked the design/build team to come back with a revised plan showing storage running the full length of the proposed building, and another showing storage on the other side of the building.

They also agreed to get pricing on connector options. Regardless of whether they move forward with a bridge or a foyer, the committee generally agreed that the connector should be considered a separate project moving forward.

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