Union R-XI officials, in an effort to keep to keep new projects and renovations throughout the school district local, will host a meet and greet between local contractors and the district’s architect and owner’s representatives.

The meet and greet will be Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 6-7 p.m. at Union High School. HTK Architects and owner representatives Navigate Building Solutions will be on site with district officials to present, meet and greet with local contractors.

Assistant Superintendent Mike Mabe said the event will give local contractors an impression of not only HTK Architects and Navigate, but also of the projects themselves. He said the hope from the beginning has been that the projects would be executed by local businesses.

“We definitely have lots of tradesmen in the Union area that we just want to make sure we involve in the four projects we have here,” Mabe said. “That’s what this is about, giving time lines and information about these upcoming projects.”

Mabe said with the design nearly completed on the Beaufort Elementary expansion, and the progression of other project designs ongoing, it’s time to prepare for the bidding process.

He said this event will give local contractors, as well as HTK Architects and Navigate, an idea of who they might be working alongside.

The meet and greet is scheduled to take place in and between the high school’s theater and gym. Superintendent Steve Weinhold said it’s an important step in ensuring the school’s projects are executed in the best possible ways.

“It’s very important to be a steward of money but at the same time make sure our local people have the opportunity to bid on any part of those projects they feel they can bid on,” Weinhold said.

“This is an opportunity. We want to give people the opportunity to come in and give them that chance,” Mabe added.

Weinhold and Mabe said currently the district is waiting for cost estimates on several projects. Weinhold said the design stage has been steady and methodical and that the work with HTK, Navigate and the city has been smooth.

“While it may seem slow, we’re trying to do a quality job in the planning stages so we have less change orders in the future,” Weinhold said. “It’s going smoothly. We’re still on our time line.”

Beaufort Elementary’s expansion is expected to be completed in August 2019 and the new elementary school is expected to be open by August 2020.

The new elementary school’s construction costs are currently estimated at roughly $17.5 million, with the total project possibly costing $22.2 million. Beaufort elementary’s total cost could be approximately $4.3 million, the middle school addition is estimated to cost $3.1 million and the maintenance building could cost $1.6 million.

The new elementary school and other district-wide projects are being funded by Prop Wildcats, a $27 million no-tax bond increase. It will be located on district-owned land just off Highway 50, between Progress Parkway and Prairie Dell Road.