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District plans to spend $1.2M in bond savings

Tennis courts, pressbox, new theater entrance on list

April 06, 2011 - Oxford Community Schools is getting some additional construction projects that were not included in the 2009 bond project thanks to nearly $1.2 million worth of savings on contracted bid work.

Nine additional projects, totaling $1,198,066, were added to the phase one and phase two construction periods due to the savings the district received when the construction bids came back lower than originally budgeted.

"The fact that we were able to add value to our bond project is a tremendous compliment to our construction management team, who did an exceptional job with the bid process," Board of Education Vice President Bill Keenist said in a statement from the Board of Education.

The board approved the projects when they voted to award the construction bids for work from the 2009 Building and Site Bonds at meetings on March 7 and March 28.

According to Tim Loock, the Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations for the district, the district can spend the surplus money on the additional projects since the projects fall within the written language of the bond for school site improvements.

"If there (are) surplus funds that could be used for additional projects that met the requirements or to pay back the bonds, if they chose to do something like that, that would be an allowable use," Loock said.

Loock noted the district had to first "fulfill the promise of the language on the ballot of what they intended to do," before doing the additional projects.

Keenist said the Board felt the projects would be a benefit to both students and community members when asked if the Board of Education had discussed allocating the $1.2 million towards paying off the bond.

"The Board believed absolute best use of those funds were for projects that would both enhance and improve our schools and also provide new opportunities for not only our students, but for our community as well," he said in the statement. "The bottom line is that our district, our students and our community will all greatly benefit from the added value of this bond."

All seven schools within the district received at least one additional project.

At the high school, $80,090 will be spent on tennis court area earth work, drainage and landscaping; $225,300 on tennis courts asphalt, concrete and synthetic surfacing and $93,982 on perimeter fencing and a wind screen for the courts. The courts will be located where the freshman football team practices at the north end of the high school.

The district will spend an additional $119,000 for the high school to receive a "well defined exterior entry to the auditorium," according to Ben Schneider, Senior Project Manager for Granger Construction.

"It is specifically designed to designate a preforming arts entry after hours when they are having performances," Schneider said.

In addition to providing an entrance to the auditorium, it will also help "coordinate off the lobby area of the auditorium and keeps the people from getting into the rest of the facility on a performance night," Schneider said.

At the middle school, the district spent $37,900 on a press box for the middle school athletic facility during phase one construction and $107,900 on spectator seating for the facility for the phase two construction.

Schneider noted seating for the stadium was not originally included in the bond proposal because it was considered "an additional value."

The bleachers were added not only to provide spectator seating for middle school athletic events and for the Oxford Junior Wildcat program, but also as an access into the press box, which was built on top of the concession stand.

According to Schneider, two concepts into accessing the press box were looked into. The first was a steel staircase, which would have cost around $20,000. "We knew that we really wanted to afford bleachers in front so that way you access the press box by basically walking up the bleachers," Schneider said. "We didn't feel comfortable committing $107,900 for bleachers until we knew exactly where everything was so we could make sure we delivered what we promised."

"We felt that it was premature to make that decision until after we bid out in phase two to know if we were going to accomplish it, keeping in mind the second story press box was an added value at the time," Schneider said.

In addition to the press box and the spectator seating, the middle school will receive $83,933 to install new lockers and lights in the athletic area locker rooms.

At the elementary level, Daniel Axford will receive an entrance canopy addition for the main office area at a cost of $84,450 so the front entry can be similar to the rest of the elementary schools and help identify the safe and secure entrance to the school.

"They are trying to draw their attention to the main office, and that entry extension is being put on at Oxford Elementary, Lakeville, Leonard and Clear Lake," Schneider said.

Clear Lake will receive $41,680 to renovate toilet rooms and $56,500 to demolish existing toilet rooms and expand classrooms.

At Lakeville, $14,890 will be spent to remove the orchestra/music folding partition and replace it with a theatrical curtain on the stage in the cafeteria in order to improve the sound quality of the room.

Leonard will receive $23,500 to install new sports flooring in the cafeteria and $16,900 to renovate the kiln room.

Oxford Elementary is receiving $212,041 to build an addition to connect the pre-kindergarten building and Oxford Elementary together. "This is going to provide additional space needed for the Pre-K building," Schneider said.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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