Archive for Monday, May 8, 2017

School board hears details of $87M bond timeline; selection processes already underway

Lawrence USD 497 school board

Lawrence USD 497 school board

May 8, 2017

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Very early work on the Lawrence district’s $87 million bond issue is already underway, school board members and the public learned during Monday evening’s school board meeting.

Tony Barron, the district’s executive director of facilities and operations, laid out the tentative first steps of the bond — which passed by more than 75 percent of the vote last week — for board members Monday evening. The process starts with the district placing a request for qualifications, or RFQ, for architects, engineers and construction managers, in Tuesday’s Journal-World.

“It’s probably about a five- to six-week process once we get them, a construction manager, onboard,” Barron said. “From here, we’re going to get an architect and engineer onboard,” he added, followed by commissioning. The goal, Barron said, is to have a construction manager selected by the late July or early August.

Barron also explained the district’s decision to use a Construction Manager at Risk method in the projects. The CMAR process asks the construction manager to deliver the project within a guaranteed maximum price, or GMP. In this method, the construction manager is obligated to manage construction costs so that the GMP is not exceeded, working with the design team to stay within a project’s budget while still meeting the needs of the client.

It’s a collaborative process that worked well, Barron said, during the district’s 2013 bond issue, which is all but completed except for ongoing construction work at Pinckney Elementary School.

“We feel this is a pretty cost-effective way of doing business. It puts the risk on the construction manager,” Barron said. “They have a price that they have to deliver at. If they don’t deliver on that price, it’s on them, not us.”

Once the construction manager, architect and engineer are selected, the design process begins. The projects, as of now, are divided into three packages: one for Lawrence High School and its $50.8 million in proposed additions and renovations; one for Free State High School and its $15.2 improvements; and a third for the relatively smaller projects at the district’s four middle schools.

Before design plans can be finalized, the construction manager will work on estimating the cost of constructing a project based on the goals of the designer and client — in this case, the school district. The design process varies between projects, though Barron said most would take anywhere from six to 18 months to complete.

“I’d say somewhere around six months might be something like South Middle School that only has very minimal components to it,” Barron said. “Lawrence High would be more on the 18-month end because it’s a very complex project and we’d want to make sure that we try to cover everything now.”

Barron also referenced the district’s master plan, produced by architecture firm Gould Evans and released in February, in presenting two options for construction timelines. The first, a concurrent design phasing, would have all projects but LHS starting construction roughly around the same time — in summer of 2018 or at some point that fall. Under this option, LHS would begin construction in spring of 2019 and complete construction by fall of 2021.

The second, a staggered design phasing, would have construction beginning and ending at half of the schools within a few months in 2018. Exceptions in the staggered plan would be Lawrence High School, Free State High School and West Middle School, which would all begin construction in 2019, and, with the exception of LHS’s expected wrap date in August 2021, would all complete construction within 2019.

In other business, the board:

• Heard a report on the district’s new U.S.-China Kindergarten Exchange, which is being piloted this semester by students at Sunset Hill Elementary School and Shanghai’s Copernic Kindergarten Elementary. Jerri Kemble, the district’s assistant superintendent of innovation and technology, presented the report with Tara Martin, the district’s facilitator of elementary curriculum, and Nicole Corn, a kindergarten teacher at Sunset Hill who has piloted the program with her students this semester. A handful of Corn’s kindergartners also joined in the presentation Monday, showing off the Chinese vocabulary they’ve picked up over the last few months.

• Heard an update on the district’s Parents as Teachers program, specifically its current practices, partners and projects, and school readiness. Suzy Green, the program’s coordinator, presented the report.

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