The Swanton Board of Education last Tuesday accepted bids for the upcoming building renovation and addition project. The bids accepted included multiple alternates, such as air conditioning the buildings.
“I think it’s an exciting time for our schools,” said Steve Brehmer, Board of Education president. “Hopefully, we solve our school issues for 20-25 years at least.”
With bids for the project coming in well below estimates, the Board of Education decided to add alternate projects to the base project. While, most alternates drew a consensus from board members, there was some disagreement with the salvaging of historic pieces from the 1904 building on Cherry Street.
Shannon Crow, Kris Oberheim, and Brehmer were in favor of adding that alternate, while David Smith and Chris Nijakowski were not. “I don’t think we can give up all that history,” said Crow.
“If you don’t do it now, you can’t get it back,” added Brehmer.
Under the plan, Crestwood Elementary School on Crestwood Drive will become a K-4 building, and Park Elementary School on Elton Parkway will house grades 5-8. Preschool will be moved to the high school building, and the current middle school and 1904 building will be demolished, with the exception of Fisher Gymnasium.
With the board approving the alternate for air conditioning at Park and Crestwood, all district buildings will be fully air conditioned. “District staff was adamant about wanting air conditioning in the buildings,” according to Jeff Schlade, Swanton superintendent.
The addition at Park School will include a band room and choir room at the west end of the building. One alternative, approved by the school board, is the addition of a lunch room to the west of the gymnasium. A storage room and walk-in freezer were not approved.
Cabinets to hold instruments in the new band room, and new lockers, were also approved. Nijakowski said that the instruments are expensive and should be protected.
At Crestwood, the addition would be on the north end of the current building and include six new classrooms. A portion of the playground equipment has already been moved at the school to prepare the area for the addition.
Preschool classes in the district will move to the northwest wing of the high school. Three preschool classrooms are planned with the idea of expanding the preschool program in the school district.
“Our preschool will have its own section of classrooms with separate entries/exits, its own restrooms, etc., at the excess space at Swanton High School,” said Schlade.
Construction costs for the project will be $5,224,175. The total cost of the project is estimated at $7,147,136. Soft costs, or non-construction costs, add to the $5,224,175 figure, as does money for contingency, allowances, and removal of asbestos and a tank at the Cherry Street site.
Swanton Treasurer Joyce Kinsman hopes to see the contingency and allowances come in less than estimated.
The price also includes the addition of a wood floor in the Park Elementary gym, but the district is going to ask for a change order to remove that part of the project.
Bids were awarded to Midwest Contracting for general trades, D and R Demolition for demolition, Brint Electric for electrical, and Positive Trades Group for combined plumbing and HVAC.
The district is using a portion of its general fund balance to fund much of the project. Kinsman estimates that once the project is completed, the balance will be in the $2-2.2 million range.
The project faces a rushed timeline, as the goal is to have the additions and renovations complete by the start of the 2017-18 school year.
Within the next couple of weeks, work will begin on the additions at Park and Crestwood and continue throughout the course of the school year, weather permitting.
When the school year concludes, more work will begin, including:
• Removal of all remaining equipment, technology, and furniture needing to be salvaged and moved from the Cherry Street (SMS) building.
• Renovation of entry-ways/vestibules at SHS, Park, and Crestwood.
• Renovation of three SHS classrooms in order to create preschool classrooms.
• Complete abatement of remaining hazardous materials at the Cherry St. building in preparation for demolition (except for the Fisher Gym).
• Addition of restroom facility and other renovations to the Fisher Gym.
• The demolition of the Cherry St. building.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010