Project would include adding four new classrooms to elementary
The USD 108 Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to hire an architect and construction manager agency for a four classroom/restroom addition to the south end of the current elementary building. A special meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss financing and lease purchase arrangements.
Present were Rod Stewart, Jill Hoover, Kevin Elliott, Keelie Welch, Rhonda Manley, Brad Jones and Kelsie Beikmann.
BBN Architects Inc., Manhattan, represented by Daniel Crouch and Patrick Schaub, presented a preliminary design and timeline to the board. Also present were Brian Fuemmeler and Todd Knight, representatives of McCownGordon Construction, the firm hired to be the construction agency manager.
The board also reviewed a lease purchase agreement timeline from Piper Sandler, an investment firm. The special meeting scheduled for Wednesday night was to be with a Piper Sandler representative.
The board has been discussing space needs since September. Elementary enrollment over the last three years has increased by 37 students. Enrollment numbers as of Tuesday morning were preschool, 22; kindergarten, 31; first grade, 31; second grade, 30; third grade, 28; fourth grade, 33; fifth grade, 26; and sixth grade, 29.
Plans call for a bid opening in April.
McCownGordon representatives told the board one of the challenges of the proposed timeline is a shortage of steel for roof joists and decking due to COVID-19. These delays will require efficiency on site, so that construction crews are not waiting on supplies.
“We wanted to let you know what we’re hearing in the marketplace,” Knight said. McCownGordon estimators made several calls across the state and several projects are seeing significant delays for steel fabrication.
The lease purchase outline shows that the board will consider a resolution of intent to enter a lease at the special meeting. The Notice of Intent must be published twice in The Washington County News, the official district newspaper. A 30- day protest period will follow. If a protest petition is not filed, the board could adopt a lease purchase agreement and execute the purchase agreement at its March meeting.
The proposed addition will be approximately 5,800 square feet. Each classroom will be 800 square feet, the same size as those in the current building. Men’s and women’s restrooms are included, along with janitorial and storage space and workspace for teachers.
BBN described the project as straightforward. It helped immensely, Schaub said, that the district had kept detailed plans from the construction of West Elementary and the district’s second gymnasium, 7-12 music room and science lab.
Jones said he wanted the board to schedule some public meetings to provide information about the project.
Supt. Denise O’Dea said the district mill levy would not increase for this project because it would be financed through a lease/purchase.
McCownGordon was to provide the district with a detailed construction estimate for the Wednesday night meeting.
Once the lease purchase arrangements begin, there will be little opportunity to significantly change the design. While a little larger than the original space estimate, the design has been tweaked for exit and code requirements.
McCownGordon will have an on-site superintendent daily at the job site.
Elliott asked about obligations should there be a disaster that would make the district unable to proceed with the project. Schaub said there would be no penalties, but the district would be responsible for services rendered.
The architect’s fee was quoted as 9 percent of the construction costs.
“Once cost is set, our job is to design it at cost. We want you to get as much as you can for the budget you have available,” Schaub said.