Archive for Thursday, September 16, 1993

BALDWIN SCHOOL PROJECTS ON TARGET

September 16, 1993

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— Construction projects at Baldwin schools are proceeding quickly, and school officials say they're pleased with the progress.

Baldwin voters in April approved an $8.95 million school bond issue to finance construction of a new high school and additions at Vinland and Marion Springs elementary schools. Baldwin Middle School will move to the existing high school, and Baldwin Elementary School will expand into the adjacent middle school.

Supt. John Nuspl said the projects are under the direction of a construction management firm, Harris Construction, instead of a general contractor. The district accepts bids on various aspects of the different projects, which has kept the work moving quickly and has enabled the use of several local firms.

"We are real, real pleased with the construction management approach we've taken with this," he said. "I'm sold on the process."

Nuspl said he also was excited to report that bids have come in under budget so far by $150,000 to $200,000. The money will be used for work that wasn't included in the original plans, such as air conditioning the Vinland school and cutting a drainage ditch between the high school tennis courts and athletic fields.

"We've had totally outstanding bids," he said. "They've all been high quality and competitive. All the bid packages have come in below the estimates."

The district also shaved $1.5 million off the estimated cost of the bonds by securing an interest rate of 5.24 percent, the lowest rate on a 20-year bond issued in Kansas over the last two years, the superintendent said.

At the site of the new high school, the basement is dug and the foundation is prepared, said Gordon Wakeman, director of buildings and grounds. The school board Sept. 28 will open bids on the building's shell, which should be completed in time for workers to get started on the interior this winter. The school is scheduled to open in January 1995.

The school's football and soccer practice fields were regraded from east-west to north-south to keep the new school from falling in the end zone, and the tennis courts were relocated near the fields, just west of the district's administration building.

The walls for two additional classrooms at Marion Springs Elementary School are in place, and workers are waiting for materials to complete the new library and future music room.

At Vinland, the elementary school building -- which was closed in 1991 because of questions about structural integrity -- was razed in June. A 5,000-square-foot steel building went up this spring to house a lunch room, gymnasium, music and band room, kitchen, storage area, offices and a small library. Classes met in the school's four-classroom annex.

The new addition connects to the annex with a walkway, and will provide four more classrooms and a library. The addition is scheduled for completion by Thanksgiving, when classes will move in and workers will begin renovating the annex. When all the reorganization is finished, administrative offices will be in the annex and the old offices in the steel building will be used for special services.

Both the Marion Springs and Vinland projects should wrap up by spring, Wakeman said.

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