Steamboat Springs A new Soda Creek Elementary will begin to rise from the ground in July, but other school construction projects also are primed for groundbreaking this summer.
Voters approved a $29.7 million bond issue in November to fund the new Soda Creek, additions and renovations to Strawberry Park Elementary and an addition to the front of Steamboat Springs Middle School.
Superintendent Donna Howell said Tuesday all three projects are on schedule, although no groundbreakings have yet to proceed.
"We've got the bids in and we are going to finish the contract soon with Haselden (Construction)," she said. "We are expecting a timeline from our owner's representative on groundbreaking at the June 20 School Board meeting."
The contractor will work all three projects concurrently; a decision Howell said was both cost effective and timely.
"An example is that we went out for a bid just on the middle school, and the bid came in significantly higher," she said. "It's a very large project and, because of the scope of it, we found it was cost effective in a positive way for us to combine them all together. The larger the scope, you benefit from economy of scale."
Todd Ficken, the school district's owner's representative for the major school construction project, said the district's first responsibility is to establish the temporary Soda Creek facility in the field adjacent to the George P. Sauer Human Services Center.
"We need a home for Soda Creek students first before we worry about anything else," he said. "The critical thing is to have the Human Services Center fitted out in time to receive students in August."
Mobile classrooms will begin to arrive at the site next week, but the facility won't be completed until August, said Ficken, who noted the contractor was given notice to proceed Monday at the site.
"We won't be waiting until the temporary site is completed to start the other projects, but we need to make sure the project is up and running," he said. "I expect to give the contractor a notice to proceed at Soda Creek sometime next week, but people won't see physical construction until after the Fourth of July."
Work at Strawberry Park and Steamboat Middle School is expected to proceed shortly after groundbreaking at Soda Creek, but Ficken stressed the district's first responsibility is to get students into the mobile classrooms.
"We need to get them into those trailers, get working and then get them out of those trailers as soon as possible," he said. "If I have a crystal ball, and no glitches come our way, we may be able to get students into the new (Soda Creek) building before the 2008-09 school year."
Ficken said he expects construction to begin at Strawberry Park in late July. Six modular classrooms will be replaced by a 10-classroom addition, and the school's heating and ventilation system will be replaced.
"The work at Strawberry Park will be a two-season phase," he said. "The addition can be done independent of school activities. We'll be working on that through the school year. Once school gets out for summer next year we'll start on all the interior mechanical work."
Rick Denney, the district's facilities director, said the office trailer at Strawberry Park is 19 years old, while one of the school's mobile classrooms is 18 years old.
"It's an effort to get the students off the trailers and into the building," he said. "Some of them are getting quite old."
At Steamboat Middle School, Denney said a 5,000-square-foot addition will be added to the front of the building to widen the school's entrance, which he said would improve security. Offices also will be rebuilt closer to the entrance to monitor who enters and leaves the school.
Ficken said he expects the middle school addition to be completed in two or three months. If not completed before school starts Aug. 27, he said students would not be affected by the construction.