Vote set on architect for East Park work

DANVILLE — School officials hope to launch the last of the district's three major school renovation projects this week.

They are recommending that the school board hire Schmidt Associates on Wednesday to provide architectural services for the East Park Elementary School renovation. The board will meet at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/P52gB3.

 

Under an agreement, the Indianapolis firm would prepare design plans and bid specifications, etc. The district would pay the firm $675,000 for the work and reimburse the firm's expenses.

"They have a proven track record," Superintendent Mark Denman said Friday.

Schmidt provided architectural services for the $12.3 million renovation at South View Middle School, which wrapped up earlier this year, and the $13.76 million renovation at North Ridge Middle School, currently in progress and slightly ahead of schedule. It has been involved in other district projects in the past.

The three schools, which shared the same design, including a flat roof, opened as junior high schools in 1961, and had long been the district's most problematic schools. A couple of years ago, district officials, after much study, launched an aggressive plan to overhaul the buildings over a three-year period — South View in 2011, North Ridge this year and East Park in 2013.

Denman said officials want to proceed with the architectural work, which will take several weeks, this summer to ensure that preliminary work can begin over Christmas break and major construction can be done over the summer break.

Architects estimate the East Park construction could cost between $11.7 million to $12.3 million, according to buildings and grounds director Ron Henton. He said the main repairs will include adding a sloped roof, replacing the original windows with energy-efficient ones, installing a new HVAC system and updating plumbing and electrical systems, which were done at South View and North Ridge.

For East Park, officials are recommending that a cafeteria be built using the existing kitchen, so that students wouldn't have to eat in different commons areas throughout the school. It won't be a cafetorium with a stage or lighting system like South View has and North Ridge is getting.

"The grade school doesn't have a comprehensive arts program — a band, an orchestra, a show choir, a drama club," Denman said, explaining why those features aren't needed.

Denman said the cafeteria would be included as an alternate bid, and officials can decide later whether to include or exclude it based on the cost.

Officials are also recommending that the lockers not be replaced because the students don't use them.

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