Design board OK's high school

A proposal to build a new high school in Coupeville cleared a major hurdle when the Coupeville Design Review Board Tuesday approved architecture plans in a divided vote.

“We’re extremely pleased with the result, we feel we met the needs of the city code,” Superintendent Bill Myhr said in an interview after the meeting.

The approval was the culmination of months of meetings between school district officials and the design board. School officials first met with the board in the spring to get approval for the high school site plan.

Tuesday’s meeting was the third one concerning the architecture plans.

One major issue concerning the board was the entrance to the new high school and a new entrance to the gymnasium.

Plans originally called for glass entrances for both structures. However, the design board said it didn’t meet town standards. The amount of glass at the gymnasium entrance was reduced from 100 percent to 38 percent while the amount of glass at the high school entrance was reduced from 100 percent to 49 percent, said Gary Goltz, school district construction manager.

He said the amount of remaining glass still provides a clear indicator where the entrances to both building are located and it provides natural lighting into the buildings, creating a warmer environment.

While the school district received approval for the architecture plans, it wasn’t a unanimous vote. The board approved it three to two with Randy Williams, Millie Fonda and Chuck Poust voting in favor, and Lyla Snover and Larry Cort voting against. Chairperson Carol Thrailkill votes only in the event of a tie and Jill Usher was absent.

Town Planner Larry Kwarsick said the design board supported the efforts architects made in meeting town design requirements. However, one sticking point that concerned board members was the banding differentiating between the first and second floors.

Despite approval of the high school’s architecture, the school district’s visits to the design board will continue. School officials next have to get approval for the landscaping plans and signs. The district also has to apply for a variance from the maximum 28-feet height requirement before the town issues a building permit.

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