Crystle Nehrmeyer, Superintendent
As students in the Oracle Elementary School District returned to school on a hybrid schedule in early March, district staff were also engaged with design and construction partners to finalize the $13.2M bond project designs and construction planning.
With the help of our project manager at H2 Group, architects at BWS Architects, and construction management from Chasse Building Team, our Capital Bond Projects have been organized into three phases. Phase I includes the construction of the new classroom building, kitchen renovation, library renovation, ADA upgrades in all restrooms, HVAC replacement, and campus security. Construction for Phase I is slated to begin this summer. Phase II includes our parking lot reconfiguration and ADA site circulation upgrades. Construction for Phase II is also slated to start this summer. Phase III includes playground upgrades for both the K-4 and 5-8 playgrounds/common areas.
During the February meeting, our governing board approved the pre-construction contract for Phase II between the district and our selected construction partner, Chasse Building Team. The pre-construction contract for Phase I was approved earlier this school year. Once the pre-construction phase is complete and we are prepared to begin construction, the governing board will be asked to approve a contract between the district and Chasse Building Team for the actual construction of Phase I and Phase II. At this time, the district plans to complete Phase III independently by purchasing new playground equipment outright from playground equipment vendors.
During the month of March, the district team approved the final design for the parking lot, bus drop off area, and traffic flow. They also engaged in a value engineering (VE) effort to consider and prioritize a 53 line item list of options recommended by our partners, to help keep costs down. Going through the VE process was time-consuming, but in the end, we believe it will result in more bang for the buck, increased student safety, a more functional campus, and an overall higher quality outcome.
Even so, there is more work to be done than even the $13.2M will cover. Fortunately, district staff has been successful in acquiring additional funding from a variety of sources to include the Arizona School Facilities Board (SFB). The SFB funded the HVAC replacement for the science classroom, at an estimated $7,000, and the replacement of the cafeteria flooring, at an estimated $35,000, which has already been completed. Now, they’ve approved $233,000 in additional funding for the repair and replacement of roofs for four buildings (5th grade, cafeteria, gymnasium, and science.) District staff is hopeful their request for SFB funding to purchase kitchen equipment will also be approved.
The district team and governing board are very pleased with how the design of the campus and facility improvements are shaping up, as well as the support received from our project partners. In the midst of a global pandemic that has changed much about our lives, we are feeling very positive about the value this bond project will deliver to the students of the Oracle School District as well as the community at large.