Construction on the two remaining Prop Wildcats projects is moving along on schedule.

Navigate Building Solutions, the Union R-XI School District’s owner-representative for the projects, provided its monthly status update on the work being done at Union Middle School and Prairie Dell Elementary.

Cory Bextermueller, with Navigate, said work at the new elementary school is progressing. Crews have recently been working on the brick masonry along the side of the building. Bextermueller said the masonry work should be finished soon.

Work also has continued on the roofing, and curbs are being installed. Inside the building, crews are working on framing walls and hanging drywall in classrooms and installing windows and glass. Some electrical and plumping work also is being done.

Bextermueller said the goal is to have the building watertight for the winter months so crews can finish construction by the spring.

Upcoming work on the new elementary school includes paving the parking lot. Bextermueller said the goal is to have it paved this week.

Middle School

Over at the middle school, work is getting ready to pick up. Bextermueller said the building foundation for the new addition is complete. With that done, crews are expected to begin building the concrete slab soon.

Bextermueller said, weather permitting, the goal is to have the slabs poured later this week. The process is expected to be done quickly, he said.

When that is finished, exterior walls will be framed. Masonry work is expected to start shortly thereafter as well.

Outside of the construction scope, Bextermueller said Navigate and the district are working on furniture selection for both projects. A design for the elementary school playground also is being prepared. That work is expected to be finished in early 2020. 

All together, Bextermueller said both the new school and middle school addition are still on track to be wrapped up by the spring of 2020.

Project Background

In April 2018, voters approved a $27 million no-tax increase bond issue for school improvements. The measure was intended to help the district to better handle a population influx.

The key projects targeted by the bond were improvements to Beaufort Elementary, an addition at Union Middle School, a new maintenance facility and construction of a new elementary school.

The Beaufort project was the first major Prop Wildcats project to be finished. That work consisted of an addition and renovation to the existing building. District officials said the amount of work has transformed the building into almost an entirely new school.

A majority of the flooring was replaced and new paint was added throughout the building. The largest part of the project is construction of a new gym. The gym replaces the current gym/cafeteria and designated the room as just a cafeteria. The new gym is located on the south side of the school.

The new gym allows for existing space at the school to be remodeled into several classrooms and other rooms. A large portion of the old gym is now the school’s new library.

Additionally the school office was completely remodeled.

The district’s new maintenance building project also has wrapped up. The former site of ADB Companies Inc. was purchased to be the home to the district’s central office, technology department and maintenance staff. 

The district finalized the purchase of a building at 21 Progress Parkway in early 2019. Renovations took place this summer. At some point, the district’s administrative staff are set to relocate from the high school to the new building.

With those two projects done, all that’s left is the middle school addition and the new school.

The Union R-XI Board of Education approved a deal in March with LayneCo Construction Services, O’Fallon, for the middle school improvements. The contract will pay LayneCo $2,336,278 for construction services.

The middle school addition will include 12 new classrooms on the west side of the building. The addition is expected to be just under 12,000 square feet.

As part of the plan, a new fire lane will be constructed as well as a new traffic circle. The circle will be used for pickup and dropoff.

ICS Construction Services Inc. is the general contractor for the new Prairie Dell Elementary. The St. Louis-based ICS was the low bidder for the work coming in at $13,862,000.

The new school will be located on district-owned land between Prairie Dell Road and Progress Parkway near East Central College.

The school is planned to comfortably fit 600 students and, at a maximum, house 900. Each classroom is designed to fit up to 25 students.