Missouri School District Architect Decision

Wentzville School Board hires architect to design high school
Some members wanted to seek bids for contract

Even though the Wentzville School District’s third high school will be different, the architect will remain the same.

The Board of Education on Thursday voted to hire Hoener Associates Inc. to design the school. The firm has been the district’s primary architect since 2002.
But the hiring passed by only one vote. Some board members believed the district should have looked at putting the contract out to bid to see if other firms would offer a cheaper price and save the district some money.

Voting to hire Hoener were board President Terry Ratcliff and members Sherry Cox, Heather Reiter and Pat Hacker. Voting against were Dale Schaper, David Hurst and Courtney Tieman.

Design work will now begin on the high school, with construction expected to begin after the first of next year. The school is scheduled to open in fall 2013 on a 79.6-acre site on Sommers Road between highways N and DD in O’Fallon. The district announced the $5.971 million land purchase earlier this month.

The purchase is primarily funded from a 2008 bond issue, but construction will be paid for with revenues from a 30-cent property tax increase approved by voters in April. The construction is estimated to cost between $36 million and $40 million
As far back as last December, some board members had asked if the district could save up to $1 million by using the same design as Timberland High School, which opened in 2002. But Kari Monsees, the district’s chief financial officer, wrote in a memorandum to the board last week that using old plans “is not a feasible approach for the school.”

Timberland was designed in different phases using three different architectural firms, and plans are more than a decade old, Monsees said. The new site features different topology, making the older design impractical, Monsees said.

Matt Deichmann, director of community relations, said there are flaws in the old design that could be improved. Soliciting bids for the design work would have delayed the building’s construction, he said.

Deichmann said a high school is a more complex building than the six elementary schools that have been designed by Hoener and have used similar design elements.

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