Archive for Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bids for De Soto district school additions to be awarded

August 26, 2008

The bids are on the street for building expansions to Starside and Clear Creek elementary schools.

De Soto USD 232 facilities director Denis Johnson said contractors had been picking up plans to bid on the estimated $3.5 million in projects, and the bids would be considered by the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education at its next meeting, Sept. 15.

As soon as bids are approved, work on both buildings will begin, Johnson said.

"We want to get going to get the foundations in before winter," he said.

During construction, the contractor will have 6-foot-tall chain link fencing surrounding the site for the safety of students and staff.

Johnson said the district and the winning contractor would work together to avoid disturbing classes as much as possible.

"There will be times when we will have to work together with them when they have to make a connection to a building that will be noisy," he said.

That could mean moving students to a different classroom during noisy periods or scheduling construction that could disturb classrooms for days when school isn't in session, Johnson said.

At Starside, staff will be able to park in the District Administrative Center's parking lot next door during the construction. However, Johnson said it would be more challenging at Clear Creek.

"It's going to affect the traffic flow coming in and out of Clear Creek," he said. "We met with the bus company, building principal and (district operations director) Jack Deyoe to work out a plan. Clear Creek is our tightest site of any of our elementary schools. It was a real concern at Clear Creek, and there is really no off-street parking except for the neighborhood to the north."

To help facilitate the traffic flow, parents started off the new school year using the new pick-up and drop-off route, Johnson said.

"It will be more of an impact for Clear Creek when they have events," he said.

Johnson also noted that Mill Valley's parking lot could be used if needed, as there is a crosswalk across Monticello Road.

Construction on Starside is estimated to cost $2 million, and Clear Creek is estimated at $1.5 million. The projects will be paid for out of capital outlay money, which funds district facility and technology projects. The board approved the projects in June as a way to limit the cost of Nov. 4 bond package.

Both school will get four new classrooms added on to the building, but Starside also will have some classroom renovation, Johnson said.

"We are taking the four classrooms directly across from the Media Center, and we are going to gut those out and use them for Title 1 reading and ESL and special programs," he said. "The fifth-graders currently in that space will move out to the new classroom additions."

Starside needed those renovated classrooms, Johnson said, because of the amount of mandatory programs it must offer to students.

"The issue we have at Starside is not that it's at capacity. It just has so many mandatory programs it has to offer," he said. "At Clear Creek, we just needed the classroom space."

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