Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Letter To The School Board

20 June 2006

SAVE – RIVERVIEW HIGH SCHOOL (The Historic Rudolph Campus)

After studying the Estimator’s Report dated 16 May 2006, we feel that both time and money can be saved by incorporating the Historic Rudolph Buildings into the new School Complex. We are not attempting to save all of the Historic Rudolph Buildings.

One of the School Board Members stated that our group should have responded earlier. The first time we heard of the proposed demolition was in the February article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Until that time it was our understanding that the School Board was rehabilitating Riverview as outlined in the letter of September, 2004 to Dr. Norris from Stu Barger of BMK Architects stating “… Plan on replacing all existing buildings on campus over time with the exception of the original Rudolph buildings, which should be rehabilitated.”

Our group first met with Dr. Norris and Dr. Todd on 14 April and reviewed the cost savings and grants that are available with the Historic Designation and Rehabilitation of the Historic Rudolph Structures. There are many examples of successfully rehabilitated educational facilities throughout the United States with historic landmark designation.

The Estimator’s Report listed Restoration not Rehabilitation of the Historic Rudolph Structures. There is a substantial difference in cost and time between Restoration (Estimator’s Report) and Rehabilitation (what we are requesting). The Estimator’s Report makes no mention of any of the Historic Designation credits we reviewed. Why was the Estimator’s Report carried out without this important cost consideration and without input from either the Sarasota County History Center or from the Save Riverview group? Additionally, we have found inconsistencies in the Estimator’s Report that should to be clarified.

Following the Workshop, we have spoke with Darrell McLain of BMK Architects and he confirmed that his firm was instructed to estimate Restoration not Rehabilitation. Under Restoration, the buildings would be fully restored to their 1959 condition (Option C Page 114), which is significantly more expensive than Rehabilitation. Per Option C, when we asked for the breakdown of replacing all of the glass, we were told that a separate figure is not available, Darrell agreed that the existing glass appears to be tempered glass and that with Rehabilitation may not need to be replaced but instead fully attached with proper storm film applied.

We asked for a breakdown on reconstructing all doorways to meet ADA requirements and were told this would not be necessary with Rehabilitation, as the interior would be gutted. Eliminating the Restoration of both the glass and doorways and many other Restoration items will produce millions of dollars in cost savings.

Regarding time frame, with reference to the project Construction Phasing as outlined in the Estimator’s Report, there are other phasing sequences that could save significant construction time. For example, all students could be initially housed in portables (a clean, safe environment). Rehabilitation of the Historic Rudolph Structures and the new school construction could then begin at the same time. The Rehabilitation should take less time to complete, and most students would be located in clean, safe, Rehabilitated structures before new construction is completed. (The original cafeteria building would remain functional until the new cafeteria is completed; it would then be Rehabilitated as Administration, etc.). This sequence of phasing could save substantial time and money.

As Andrew Stephens, a recent Riverview graduate, stated last Tuesday at the Workshop, Riverview does have the appearance of a “ghetto”. The Press and members of our group toured Riverview with Principal Nook following the Tuesday Workshop. We agree there are problems – mold, mildew, fumes from the science room, rust, a cabinet fell in the science room (not a wall but a cabinet) - - all of these are maintenance and equipment problems, they have nothing to do with the structure of the building. The structure of the Historic Rudolph Building appears to be very sound.

As you know, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation has cited the Riverview Complex as one of the eleven most endangered buildings in Florida and also sited its eligibility for Historic Designation in the National Register of Historic Places. Sarasota County is acclaimed for its cultural assets ; the Historic Riverview High School is an important part of Sarasota’s built history and a significant part of the Architectural Legacy of America.

We are requesting that you direct BMK Architects to integrate the Historic Rudolph Buildings into construction of the new School Complex and estimate the cost of Rehabilitation instead of Restoration. We know that the Historic Riverview High School can be Rehabilitated so that our students can have the best of 21st century technology in buildings that both reflects our history and in a school that they deserve. Do not throw away these Historic Structures that have value and that also can yield possibly millions of dollars in financial grants.


Save – Riverview High School Group

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AS a '61 Riverview graduate, I couldn't agree more. It would be a travesty to demolish this beautiful structure which still looks great. With rehabilation, this structure has lots of remaining life and utility