East Grand School District moving quickly to begin bond-funded construction | SkyHiNews.com

East Grand School District moving quickly to begin bond-funded construction

by Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

After getting voter approval for its bond question in the Nov. 7 election, the East Grand School District has lost little time in preparing for the start of its three major school building projects in 2008.

“We’re hauling,” said Superintendent Robb Rankin. “Our first construction meeting was held the day after the election, on Nov. 8.”

In the election, the district’s $18.25 million bond was narrowly approved by voters. In the official count by the Grand County Clerk’s Office released last week, the 3A bond question passed by 169 votes or 52.5 percent of the more than 3,400 ballots cast during the mail-in ballot election.

The $18.25 million in bond money will be spent on the following construction:

– Fraser Valley Elementary ” Add seven classrooms, allowing it to have three classes per grade level and space for a preschool. A remodeling of the building’s entryway will increase its security. Cost is $3,351,218.

– Granby Elementary ” Add six classrooms, allowing it to have three classes per grade level and expand its lunchroom. A remodeling of the building’s entryway will increase its security. Cost is $4,092,258.

– Middle Park High School ” Add six classrooms including a science lab; expand the gymnasium; expand the commons/lunchroom area; relocating the office area to the front of the building for purposes of building security and controlled access; and improving the lighting and sound system in the auditorium. Cost is $9,139,195.

As part of the total $18.25 million bond package, an additional $1,437,329 has been added to cover “project costs.” This includes owner’s representative, testing, issuance of bonds and a contingency fund.

The Neenan Company will be the main contractor for the project. The Fort Collins-based architectural-construction firm was the East Grand School District’s main contractor for its last facilities project in 2004. That company is currently constructing a combined elementary-middle school building in Kremmling for the West Grand School District.

Since the bond’s victory in the election, Rankin said the work has concentrated on two preliminary goals.

“The first is financing which involves the sale of the bonds to actually fund the construction,” he said. “The second is work on the design for the buildings. That means coming up with the schematics which involve floor plans, elevations, etc. ” everything just short of the final blueprints.”

The financing portion should be complete in December. The bond will be marketed to investors are Dec. 12. After the sale, the district expects to receive the proceeds of the sale by Dec. 20.

The design portion is also expected to be completed by the end of December. Neenan plans to present the schematics to the district not later than Dec. 31.

“The designs for Fraser Valley Elementary and Middle Park High School are basically the same as what was decided upon in Neenan’s Collaborative Design Process last spring,” Rankin said. “But the design for Granby Elementary needs to be redone.”

Rankin explained the original design for Granby Elementary called for the six-classroom addition to be constructed on the building’s southwest corner. However, due to concern over the stability of the hillside below where the addition would be built, the Neenan architects are proposing an alternate location.

“We are now looking at placing it on the northwest corner of the building, off the gym,” Rankin said. “It would cover a portion of the parking lot, but there is still plenty of room left.”

The ground breaking and completion dates for the construction work on all three buildings is scheduled for 2008.

The construction schedule is: Granby Elementary, May 2 ground breaking with completion by Oct. 1; Fraser Valley Elementary, June 2 to Nov. 28; and Middle Park High, April 1 to Dec. 17.

“The work on Granby Elementary will begin with site work and work on the foundation for the classroom addition starting this spring,” Rankin said. “To ensure safety, the area will be fenced off. None on the remodeling of the building’s entrance or cafeteria will take place until after school lets out for the summer.”

Rankin admitted the exact timeline for work at Middle Park High School has not yet been decided.

“It’s more complicated at the high school,” he said. “It’s still to be decided whether we begin all three of the projects at once or concentrate on one at a time.

“If we start the work on the entry in April, we will probably have to have an alternative entry for the last two months of school. If we do start this spring, then the new entrance will be done by the start of school next fall.

“As for the new gym, we’ll have to build and seal it before we can demolish the wall the separates it from the old gym. Construction on the classroom addition will start in the summer and end in October.”

Work on the classroom addition at Fraser Valley Elementary will only begin after school lets out this spring.

Rankin stressed that the school district plans to keep the public regularly informed about the progress of the projects.

“As we did on our last bond issue in 2004, we’ll be using newspaper ads to keep the public updated on a monthly basis,” he said. The updates in the newspaper will cover both the construction and finances for the projects.

“We want to do this because the district is grateful to the community members for their support,” he said. “The district needs to show the public that we are accountable for the funds and trust that they’ve given us. Their approval of the bond shows that they understand just how important school buildings are in the education of our children.”

” To reach Will Bublitz call 887-3334 ext. 19602 or e-mail wbublitz@grandcountynews.com.

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