DANVILLE — Danville school board members on Wednesday approved asking architects to complete final drawings and prepare bid specifications for the East Park Elementary School renovation project, and then bid the project early next month.
Now they and schools officials will have to wait a couple of months to see if the bids come back favorably, allowing them to move forward with the construction option they want.
While many would like to see the pre-K- through fifth-grade school at 930 Colfax St. get a cafeteria and new kitchen or, at minimum, a cafeteria, officials cautioned that East Park is the largest of the three schools to receive major overhauls, and this last renovation can't go over budget.
"Hopefully, we'll be able to meet our bottom line," board President Bill Dobbles said, after Duane Dart of Schmidt Associates said that coming in under $12 million would be challenging.
Board members seemed pleased with the Indianapolis firm's designs and a project time line that includes a 30-day period and a pre-bid meeting, which will give general, electrical, plumbing and mechanical contractors time and information to prepare their bids.
Schmidt Associates will prepare a base-bid package, which includes adding on a sloped metal roof, addressing drainage issues, replacing exterior windows and doors, installing a new HVAC system, making electrical and plumbing upgrades, painting the buildings, removing lockers, replacing deteriorated sidewalks and repaving the drive. It's estimated at $10.75 million to $11.75 million.
The firm also will prepare two alternate options. The first calls for building a cafeteria onto the southeast side of the school, facing Colfax Street and abutting the existing kitchen and gym, and is estimated at $1.55 million to $1.65 million.
The second calls for building a cafeteria and new kitchen onto the east side of the school near the main entrance, and is estimated at $2.2 to 2.3 million.
While East Park doesn't need a cafetorium, Superintendent Mark Denman said officials would like to have a designated cafeteria away from classrooms. Currently, students eat in three commons areas, which can be disruptive to the classrooms surrounding those areas.
And ideally, he said, it would be nice to have the kitchen attached to the cafeteria. In the Alternate 1 option, food service workers would have to carry the food down a short hallway to the serving area.
"We'll have to see how the bids come in," Denman said, adding officials may have to go with the base bid.
In 2011, the district floated about $26 million in general obligation school bonds and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds to help finance the renovations and other urgent health-life safety projects in district and later this month, the board will consider issuing another $6.5 million in bonds to help fund the rest of the work. Unfortunately, officials said, the district's overall assessed valuation of property has decreased, which decreases the amount it can issue.
Board members were hopeful that East Park's cost would be similar to South View, which came in at around $12.3 million, under architects' estimates. However, Dart said the school has the most square feet of all three schools. Between 116,000 and 120,000 square feet, buildings and grounds director Ron Henton added.
"It's that much more roof and heating and air conditioning along with the windows," Dart said.
Under the time line, bids will be opened on Dec. 7, so the board could award contracts on Dec. 12. If all goes as planned, construction could begin in December, and most of the work would be done before the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.