Archive for Wednesday, June 4, 2008

School district construction begins

June 4, 2008

The end of school signals the beginning of bond issue renovations and improvements for a few of the Basehor-Linwood district schools.

Linwood Elementary School teachers, students and parents will see changes as soon as they walk in the door on the first day of the 2008-2009 school year.

"Where the old trophy cases used to be in the front lobby will become the front wall of the office," Chris Claflin, district construction supervisor said.

Workers from B.A. Green Construction have already cleared out what was once the school's computer lab just behind the old trophy cases to begin transforming it into the new front office. Doorways will be cut into the room's east wall to connect the secretary and student check-in area in the front part of the office to the copy room, teacher workroom, conference room and principal's office in the back area of the office.

The old office will now house a speech and resource office and the computer lab will be moved to a classroom on the south side of the building.

Claflin said moving the office toward the front door will allow the secretary to better monitor the door and increase security. LES principal Cindy Hiebert said it will also make it easier for parents and other guests to find the office.

"We'll just function a lot better," Hiebert said.

Other improvements include renovating the old teacher workroom into a handicap accessible bathroom and storage area as well as adding a heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit to the gymnasium. The HVAC will sit on top of the nearby locker room building and ductwork will be added onto the ceiling at the north end of the gym.

Workers from Universal Mechanical and Electrical are currently working on removing an old air handler piece by piece from underneath the stage on the south side of the gym since it will no longer be needed once the HVAC is installed.

"Anything that is interior is supposed to be done by the end of July," Claflin said.

Dirt is moving at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School as well to make room for a few new classrooms, renovations and an expanded parking lot. Claflin said A.F. Van Fleet Excavating have already started grading the area for the parking lot, which is expected to be complete by the end of July.

"They have the expansion of the parking lot laid out and ready to put curbs in," he said.

Depending on weather cooperation, Claflin said they should have the concrete pad for the new building addition finished by next week. Three new classrooms added onto the southwest side of the building to house kindergarten should be done by December.

"The addition should be done by Christmas so the custodians can move things into the classrooms over the holiday break," Claflin said.

One of the kindergarten classrooms near the front of the building and the art classroom on the southwest corner will be remodeled in the process. The old kindergarten classroom will become the new art room and the old art classroom will then be used as a regular classroom. Those changes are expected to be complete by the end of February 2009.

As for the new soccer field just west of Basehor-Linwood High School, Claflin said it is about 90 percent complete right now. While the original hope was to have the field ready to play on by this fall, Claflin said the grass growth will probably not be adequate.

"It's overly optimistic to think they're going to play on it this fall," he said. "The best thing is to get really good growth this fall and aim for it to be ready in the spring."

Designs for the proposed new middle school on 158th Street south of U.S. Highway 24-40 are coming along, Claflin said, but school officials have run into some problems with the proposed new third through fifth grade elementary school near 155th Street and Hickory Street.

The Basehor city council recently opposed petitions for benefit districts from Affinity Development, the company that is creating the Basehor Town Center development in which the intermediate school was to be built. District administrators and school board members were hoping the council would approve the benefit districts, which would allow them to install the water lines necessary to begin construction on the school this summer. The council's decision has left the board and administrators looking at different options to help expedite the start of construction.

Superintendent Bob Albers said they have been discussing the idea of reintroducing the benefit district proposal to the city council in hopes that the council will be more inclined to approve it if the school district is the one making the proposal.

"I'm very concerned," Albers said. "With the economy the way it is and fuel prices, costs are going up everyday. Any significant delay is going to cost us a significant amount of dollars."

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