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Updated new school plans presented

 

Architect Cameron Golightly shows swatches of materials and colors for areas of the new school at a school board meeting in the middle school library. — Scott Hunter photo

The new K-12 school complex is being advertised for bids this month.

Design and school officials went over the project, estimated to cost $24 million, with townspeople last Wednesday night at a meeting in the Grand Coulee Dam Middle School library.

Plans will be ready for review by prospective bidders on Jan. 29, and a pre-bid meeting for general contractors has been set for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the construction site.

Bids will be opened, Superintendent Dennis Carlson said, on Feb. 25, at 3 p.m ., at the district office. The school board meets that evening and could award the bid at that time.

Both architect Cameron Golightly, of Design West, and Carlson reiterated that going out for bid this time of the year could coax some good bids.

They will need good bids in order to get the full set of improvements hoped for by school officials.

Added to whatever the winning bid is for, is the cost of scrutiny for public buildings.

Golightly went over some of the details and suggestions made by “value engineers” who combed through Design West’s plans looking for ways to get what the architect noted was “more bang for the buck.”

State requirements call for such a review, and another group to review lighting, heating, and other such mechanicals, and yet another company to supervise the actual construction. These, plus architect’s fees, take a good early chunk out of the $31 million the school district has in its kitty.

Yet, from what the evening revealed, new sets of eyes have saved the district more than they cost. Some of the suggestions have been taken and some rejected by the school board.

Some of the suggestions include steel beams instead of wood for lower in costs and upkeep; heat pumps for each room to control outage problems; no doors on restrooms; cutting the number of elevators to the second floor from two to one, with provisions that the second could later be added; and limiting restrooms in first grade rooms.

One suggestion the board didn’t take was redoing the kitchen and eating areas. It had been suggested by “value engineers” that the building have a single kitchen. However, school officials said that with 400 breakfasts being served, you couldn’t get students through a single line with only 20 minutes to serve.

Officials are hoping that the bid on the K-12 classroom complex, which will largely sit on the old Wright Elementary site, will come in low enough that there will be from $2-3 million left over for remodeling the present Lake Roosevelt High School gym and another $1 million to update the two shop areas.

The new gym, Golightly said, will cost about $10 million. That and other athletic field improvements will all come later, with financing still a question.

The entire project was earlier expected to cost about $46 million. Of that amount the district has $31 million.

Carlson said that the district will have to wait until the bids are in and awarded to know just how to proceed with other parts of the project.

Golightly went over the security concerns, saying that all doors, including classroom doors, can be controlled from the office. Security cameras near all doors is part of a bid alternative as are a steel or composite roof.

Carlson had words of praise for State Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, who worked financing through the legislative process. She had stated, Carlson said, that she was seeking another four-year term because she wanted to see the Coulee Dam school project through.

The actual site preparation and construction will begin in March this year, and if everything goes right, students will attend school in the new facilities by Sept. 1, 2014.

The present educational wing at Lake Roosevelt will be demolished as soon as students clear the site at the close of the 2013-14 school year, but that could be delayed if the project wasn’t done on the present timeline, school officials stated.

 

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