Union School District

With two Prop Wildcats projects now under contract, the Union R-XI Board of Education has turned its attention to the next project.

Board members recently discussed plans for a new maintenance building and an addition at Union Middle School.

What was once thought to be two separate projects is now being pitched as one. Navigate Building Solutions, the district’s project manager for the Prop Wildcats projects, is recommending the work be done by one contractor.

The project is expected to go out to bid Feb. 12. Bids will be due March 12 and the board will vote on a contract at the March 20 meeting. 

The two projects are tied together because of timing constraints. The middle school work includes the removal of a building on the site that the district uses for maintenance.

Not wanting the maintenance crew to be without a facility, the goal is to have the new maintenance building constructed before the removal of the old one. To ensure that happens, Navigate said communication and planning would be a lot simpler with only one contractor.

The maintenance building will be located near Clark-Vitt Elementary and on the property where the old administration building had been off Independence Drive.

The building is described as a metal building with ample storage space, a place for semi trucks to unload and office space. The project is expected to cost $1,912,948, according to estimates by Navigate. 

The middle school addition will be 12 new classrooms on the west side of the building. The addition is expected 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.

With the new circle, students will no longer be dropped off and have to cross West End Avenue. Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold said the pickup and dropoff will hopefully work similar to Central Elementary’s procedure.  

The middle school addition is expected to cost $3,608,525.

Project Costs

At the Jan. 30 special meeting, Navigate presented a revised estimates for all the Prop Wildcats projects.

In April 2018, voters approved a $27 million bond issue to pay for a number of district-wide improvements. Since Prop Wildcats passed, the proposed projects have been over budget.

In October, Navigated predicted the projects would cost $30,777,425. Since the contracts for the new elementary school and the Beaufort project came in under expectations, Navigate is now predicting all the projects will cost $28,523,927.

Weinhold said the numbers have been trending down so far. He said he expects the numbers to continue to drop because of the conservative nature of the estimates.

If the numbers don’t drop, Weinhold said the district would still be able to pay for all the work. He said the district has about $8 to $9 million in reserves it can spend. 

Weinhold said the goal is not to spend any of the reserve money, but if it is needed it can be spent to ensure the projects are finished. 

“We can pay our bills,” he said.