Washington School Board members were updated Tuesday night on three major projects the district is undertaking thanks to passage of Question 1 of Prop R, a $9 million bond issue, in the April election.
The projects include construction of an early childhood center on the Washington West Elementary campus; HVAC renovations at Augusta Elementary; and a four-room addition at Marthasville Elementary.
Mark Reuther with Hoener Associates, St. Louis, the district’s architect, provided a summary of the projects and a time line for each.
The school board also will meet again Monday night, April 22, to review bids on renovations to the Washington High School outdoor athletic and band complex. This project is not being done with bond issue monies, but with capital improvements funds and possibly other sources.
School officials have talked about the need for a new surface for the field and track for a long time, but waited to pull the trigger on any major improvements until the outcome of the last two elections.
With approval of Question 1 of the district’s two-part Prop R earlier this month, Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said it’s now time to move forward on the “long overdue” repairs at the athletic complex.
Another project still to be tackled as part of the bond issue is the wireless infrastructure upgrade districtwide.
“I’m glad we’re able to move forward on some projects which will make a difference in the district and the community, but we’re not building a new middle school and that’s still a real disappointment,” VanLeer told The Missourian after the meeting.
“Question 1 is a step forward and it will allow us to make some progress, but we still have space issues to be addressed and the school board has made it clear that utilizing trailers as classrooms is not acceptable so we have to look at ways to meet that goal of no trailers,” she added.
Question 2 was a $40 million bond issue with a 25-cent tax rate increase to build a new 6-8 middle school.
To address space needs, the board plans to conduct a boundary adjustment study, and study new grade reconfigurations. A transportation and financial analysis also would be done in conjunction with these studies.
Early Childhood Center
Reuther told the board that design development of floor plans for the new early childhood center is essentially complete and construction documents are under way.
The approximate 25,000-square-foot building will house the intown preschools, the Parents as Teachers program and early childhood special education.
The target date to issue bids on the projects is May 22, Reuther said, with the board selecting a contractor by mid-June and a ground breaking by the end of June.
The target completion date is June 2, 2014, so school officials would have that summer to cleanup and move the departments in by the start of the school year.
Reuther said one change made to the project is including a loop road around the entire facility to meet city codes. The road would provide fire access to the entire property.
That road, which must be asphalt, could cost upward of $100,000, he said, and may require the board to consider some alternatives to control pricing.
“We’re looking into the alternatives right now,” he said.
VanLeer added the district hopes to receive very competitive bids for the project.
The building will have approximately 14 classrooms and other rooms to conduct screenings and offices. Parking also is part of the plan and will help accommodate overflow parking at Washington West Elementary, especially during evening concerts and programs.
There are no definite plans on what to do with the small house on the campus, VanLeer said. “That will need to be a future discussion,” she told board members.
Construction documents have been completed for the HVAC upgrades at Augusta Elementary and issued for bidding, Reuther said.
The target date to award a contract is mid-May, he said, with construction getting under way by the end of May.
Reuther said the goal is to have work completed on the classroom wing and 1998 addition by Aug. 16 in time for the start of next school year. Work in the gym and kitchen/workroom will have to be done during the school year, with a target completion date of Oct. 1.
Four bid alternatives also will be considered, he said, two dealing with the time line of work. The other alternatives are lighting replacement in the gym and boiler replacement.
Reuther said design development and construction documents for a four-classroom addition at Marthasville Elementary are nearly complete.
Two rooms would be oversized so they could be split for separate uses or utilized as a library, VanLeer said.
The district hopes to seek bids for the work by mid-June with a contract awarded by the end of June. Construction could then start in early August with a target completion date of July 2, 2014.
One bid alternative also is being sought for two additional classrooms.
“So we could have six classrooms, possibly, depending on how the pricing comes in,” said VanLeer.
If the school board acts on awarding a contract for the Washington High School athletic complex Monday night, Reuther said construction could get under way as early as the end of this month with a target completion date of early September, in time for the football season.
He said various bid alternatives were included in the bid package and will be presented to the board.