Vote set on bids for work at East Park

DANVILLE — The Danville school district could launch its third and final major building renovation next week.

School board members on Wednesday will vote on whether issue a second round of general-obligation school bonds to help pay for the work at East Park Elementary School. The amount will not exceed $8.5 million.

Then board members will vote on whether to award separate bids for the general contracting, electrical, plumbing and mechanical work. The base bids and bids for two alternate options will be opened at 1 p.m. Monday.

The Danville school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/YKQSkV.

"Hopefully, if the bids come in in the right neighborhood and the board is supportive .... we could see work begin by Christmas break," Superintendent Mark Denman said.

The base work, estimated at $10.74 million to $11.75 million, calls for adding a sloped metal roof, replacing exterior windows and doors, installing a new HVAC system, making electrical and plumbing upgrades, painting the building, removing lockers, addressing drainage issues, replacing deteriorated sidewalks and repaving the drive.

One alternate option, estimated at $1.55 million to $1.65 million, calls for building a cafeteria onto the southeast side of the school, abutting the existing kitchen and gym.

The other alternate option, estimated at $2.2 to $2.3 million, calls for building a cafeteria and new kitchen onto the east side of the school near the main entrance.

"I see both options as very viable," Denman said.

Officials won't be able to recommend the base bid or the base bid and one of the options until Tuesday, the day the bonds will be sold. That's because they won't lock in the interest rate until then.

"That will determine how much money we'll actually receive," business and finance Director Heather McKiernan said.

Denman said the district has put aside about $4 million in other funds for the project and other health-life safety needs throughout the district.

"We'll have to assess how much we have and evaluate our options," he said.

Also at the meeting, board members will review the curriculum for the high school's new Junior ROTC program, which begins on Jan. 19.

The district is partnering with the U.S. Army to offer the four-year leadership and character-building program.

"It's a very heavy curriculum, but a good one," Denman said of the four-year curriculum, which aims to provide cadets with a foundation for success in wellness, fitness and first aid; geography, map skills and environmental awareness; citizenship in American history and government; and integrated curricular activities.

Cadets also will be involved in extracurricular activities — such as honor and color guard, drill team, and marksmanship — that will build upon the curriculum and reinforce self-discipline, leadership, teamwork, character, service to community, among other things.

In a memo, Principal Mark Neil said 115 freshmen, sophomores and juniors have signed documents indicating interest and parental consent, with 60 percent being freshmen.

"That number will probably decline some ... depending on how it works with students' schedules," Denman said, adding they're in the process of registering for second-semester classes.

He added the district is close to hiring the instructors — a retired commissioned officer and a retired non-commissioned officer — has identified temporary classrooms for the program and is receiving program materials.

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