AURELIA - The members of the Aurelia School Board and school administrators were joined by members of the school's Improvement Advisory Committee and other interested community members for a special meeting in the school gym here on Tuesday. The purpose of the special meeting was to listen to proposed plans for several construction projects involving the school buildings.
Cheung Chan, an architect with Invision Architects, presented the plans he and other Invision architects had drawn up during several visits to the Aurelia school over the past few months. Many of the proposed projects are related to bringing the building "up to speed" in regards to accessibility issues.
Chan showed the audience the general floor plans that Invision has drawn up for three projects :
1. Renovating and re-locating the current school cafeteria and kitchen from their basement location to a first floor area currently housing the shop and wrestling room. This project would also involve raising the level of the new cafeteria/kitchen floors to the level of the adjoining gym floor, as well as some modifications to the hallway outside of the gym.
2. Renovating the 62 -year-old gym, including tearing out the current premanent wooden bleachers and replacing them with a set of retractable bleachers, thus enabling the court to be divided into two courts, running west to east, for practices and youth tournaments. The floor would still be used in a north to south direction for Middle School games, as it has been through the years. This project would also include new retractable baskets.
3. The addition of a 3 or 4 stop elevator in the 1921 building. As presented, the elevator would be located in the main hallway of the 1921 building, directly opposite the front door entrance and extending into the area above the current cafeteria / "old gym."
Chan also presented two alternate options in addition, one of which would be the construction of a new floor which would divide the space above the current cafeteria, resulting in the addition of 2-3 classrooms; and the other being the replacement of the current gym floor, since the floor which is beneath the wooden bleachers would need to be replaced anyway, as part of the gym renovation project.The plans as presented drew several well-thought-out questions and comments from both board members and visitors. The Board stated that they had several options for action : they could decide to go ahead and request bids on all three of the projects that night, they could choose some of the projects, or they could choose to not request bids at this time. The Board stated that they would prefer to get the construction work done this summer, though, so the sooner the process gets started the better, as getting the work done in the summer would provide the least amount of distraction to students' classroom activity.
After considerable discussion, the Board voted to pursue getting bids on the following projects : Renovating and re-locating the kitchen and cafeteria; Renovating the gym, including a new floor, including painting lines, etc.; 3. The addition of a 4-stop elevator. The alternate plan of adding a floor above the "old gym" has been tabled for now,but may be re-visited in the future if it is discovered that such a project would be more beneficial to the students' education and/or it is found that for some reason more rooms are needed.
The architects were also asked to re-visit their suggestion to create two new staff restrooms, at a cost of $33,000+. It was felt that perhaps one unisex restroom would suffice.
The bids will be let for these projects, again with the hope that the work will be done before the 2012-13 school year begins.
Chan presented a cost estimate form Estes Construction, with whom Invision has worked on similar projects. They broke down as follows: total estimated cost of $585,108 for the kitchen and cafeteria project; $272,115 for the gym renovation; $97,072 for the new gym floor; and $203,371 for the elevator addition. Adding in the proposed restroom renovation, general requirements, and bonds, fees and contingency costs, the estimated total cost of the projects would be $1.45 million.
Chan advised everyone that the estimates provided by any bidder are just that - estimates. Though the final costs will probably be close to the estimates, they may end up a greater or lesser amount, depending on numerous factors.
Funding for the projects will come from the District's Physical Plant and Equipment Fund and the ,01 sales tax fund, if voters approve the District's accepting their share of that state money at the upcoming April 3rd special election. These funds, which were previously called SILO funds, have been used for many building and renovation projects at the Aurelia school in the past, and they would be available for projects such as the current one if voters choose to accept the District's share of these funds.