Archive for Thursday, June 19, 2008

USD 491 approves additions

June 19, 2008

Present and future construction was the focus Thursday night during a school board meeting for Eudora USD 491.

At the forefront was the approval of plans for additions that will be made to Eudora Middle School and West Elementary School as a result of the $45 million bond issue passed in November.

A new science pod and classrooms and a bigger lunch area will be built at Eudora Middle School at an estimated cost of $3 million. Interim Superintendent of Schools Don Grosdidier was pleased with the plans because they would provide much-needed space at the middle school.

"They looked great," Grosidier said. "It's a very functional addition based on the program that is operating in that building. This is targeted as a sixth-grade addition, but it impacts the whole building. Because you're moving sixth-grade classrooms into other parts of the building, it opens things up for seventh- and eighth-grade students."

The additions at the middle school also will include an area that will allow for preparation and collaboration between science teachers.

At EWE, where pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes will be located, bathrooms will be added to each classroom at an estimated cost of $380,000.

Both projects will be ready in the fall of 2009. The new elementary school also is set to open in 2009.

The district broke ground in early spring on the $27 million flagship of the bond projects that will house grades one through five.

Though bids for site preparation came in about $450,000 under estimates, the trend has not continued.

"The first bid on the site preparation came in well below, and I think we thought that it was a good sign everything else was going to do that," Grosdidier said. "That wasn't necessarily the case."

Grosdidier said the school still likely would come in at the cost budgeted. But in order to ensure that is the case, cuts might be made to other projects associated with the bond.

"The elementary school is the main project within all of the projects, and we made the conscious choice that we were not going to make cuts to the elementary school," he said.

"We're not looking to make cuts in terms of impact, but we are looking at ways of value engineering so we can keep everything under the total project budget and not cut any of the projects."

One of the projects that might be minimized to allow for more financial flexibility was the amount of new science classes at the middle school.

Grosdidier said the district still could go back and add more classrooms with leftover cash or capital outlay.

In other action, the council:

¢ Heard suggestions from district construction consultant Don Swartz regarding the roof on the middle school.

Plugged-up drains, not a damaged roof, had caused some flooding in classrooms. Swartz suggested a new roof covering and will come back with price estimates at the next meeting.

¢ Recognized district Communications Coordinator Kristen Magette for winning the Golden Achievement Award from the National Schools Public Relations Association for her work with November's bond issue.

"Kristen is a great asset to the school district on a lot of different levels," Grosdidier said. "She does a great job of putting the real information out there, and that's just critical to a school district."

Grosdidier also praised her ability to enhance both the external and internal communication of the district.

"She's done a lot to improve our own communication with our own staff," he said. "We've really stepped it up in terms of how we recognize our staff, and Kristen is the driving force behind that."

¢ Approved the purchase of 42 computers and one server upgrade to accommodate staff growth and a computer lab at the middle school at a cost of $60,839.

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