Board looks at plans for Boones Creek school

Board looks at plans for Boones Creek school, top county building sites

Published in Herald & Tribune Feb. 4, 2015 issue

Beeson, Lusk & Street was selected as the architect to build a new pre-K-8 Boones Creek school with a 2017 projected completion date during a called Washington County Board of Education meeting last week.

“I have been very fortunate to work with the board since the early ‘80s. This by far is certainly the greatest opportunity that I have had and my office has had to serve Washington County,” said Tony Street of Beeson, Lusk & Street at the Jan. 28 meeting.

The new pre-K-8 school will have 1,100 students and will be between 138,000 to 145,000 square feet. Street said the overall square footage shifts depending on how many square feet is allowed for students or how much is allowed for square-foot cost.

Street said he used $150 per square foot and about 130 square feet per student, which may go up or down.

“You can’t hit that number exactly,” he said. “I think we are in pretty good shape at $20,625,000.”

The site preparation, which is based on a 50-acre site at $60,000 an acre, is estimated to cost $3 million. The kitchen equipment is estimated to cost $500,000; furnishings $600,000; contingency $1 million; and fees $1.2 million.

The athletic facilities are estimated to cost $2 million, and the land acquisition is estimated to cost $1,650,000.

The school-board-approved budget for the new Boones Creek school is projected for $30,575,000.

The amount does not include Smart Boards, computers, library materials and books. All of the wiring, infrastructure, power and electric, classroom furniture, media center furniture, administration furniture, cabinets and counters are all included in the price, according to Street.

A timeline, which is not set in stone, was presented to the board to give them an idea of when the school is projected to be completed.

“This is a very tight timeline,” Street said. “We are here in January 2015. We would hope that by the end of March we would have a programming session. We do need to get together with teachers, with department heads and talk about all the components that we are going to put into this new school.”

He said they are allowing a month for the preliminary design in April, which would be brought before the board for their comments, review and hopeful approval.

“At that point we would start our final drawings, contract document specifications for the final project,” Street said, which he is hoping to conclude by the end of August.

During that same time, he said, they would like to start a contractor qualification/selection process.

“The bidding and contract award is tentatively set to take place in September and October 2015.

The 20-month construction period has tentatively been set from November 2015 through June 2017. It would be followed by a one-month move in during July 2017.

“It’s not a good idea to get in a school over Christmas break, particularly a school this big. It does not work. We have got to hit this date or we are going to be (20)18. We are shoe horned in there right now.”

Board Member Todd Ganger pointed out that the good thing about it is the students are waiting for a school; they will be in a school if it did carry on.

Street said depending on what happens, the opening could go into 2018.

The board also discussed four different site selections for the new Boones Creek school.

The first site, which is owned by Carl Young, is 77 acres and is located on Boones Creek Road by the railroad tracks.

“This is in conversation with the mayor. There are plans to extend Knob Creek. There is potential that Knob Creek might be extended through that area, and if that happens, it would give the opportunity for access off of that into the site. Otherwise we would access off of Boones Creek Road,” Street said.

Some positive points about the property, he said, is it is big enough for a school, it is for sale and it only has one owner.

“There is a lot of developable land around this property and it might be very conducive for development for the county,” Street said.

He said they have done a little footprint on the site, which would include a two-story school, separate drives for bus and car drop off and pick up, athletic fields and probably a development of parks or public space of some kind.

“I have ridden the site and looked at it. There are parts of it that are very buildable and lay very well. There is a lot of potential here I think,” Street said.

The second possible site is also located on Boones Creek Road just north of the first site. It is 86 acres and has mutliple owners with Helen Carter Harrison, Dwight Hunt and David Hodge.

“This is a good piece of property that is well shaped,” Street said.

The third possible site is owned by John Glaze on Carroll Creek Road. The 65-acre site, Street said, sits back behind the existing middle school. He said there is a stream or branch in the corner of the property, as well as a ridge that becomes pretty steep.

The fourth site, which is on the north side of the interstate off of Roseview Drive, is currently farm land with cattle. The 40-acre piece of property is owned by Mary Edith Rose.

“It all slopes into a watering pond,” he said. “In short, I am not greatly impressed with this.”

The board voted in favor of giving Street permission to pursue any land opportunities for the Boones Creek school location within the price range given to them by the county mayor.

Street was also given permission to get soil borings of the site.

 

“Wonderful partners to the world of education”

County schools eye increased safety for upcoming year

Published in Jan. 14, 2015 issue

Additional cameras, as well as upgrades to existing systems, will be added to Washington County school campuses to further secure the schools and keep students safe.

The Washington County Board of Education approved monies for an additional 25 to 30 exterior cameras, as well as upgrading the existing 500 camera systems at its meeting last week. The money, $30,000 for additional cameras and $108,000 to upgrade existing cameras, was taken from the remaining safety money funds provided by the county commission. The county commission provided a total of $500,000.

The upgrades are a part of a security assessment study done with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the FBI and U.S. Marshal.

“They performed a systemwide security assessment for us a couple of years ago and made some recommendations,” Director of Schools Ron Dykes said.

The monies provided by the county commission helped to begin the implementation of those recommendations.

The upgrades will help bring the camera systems to a higher standard with increased camera resolution, greater ability for the camera to pan, tilt and zoom, as well as provide digital images. The surveillance capabilities, Dykes said, are also now remote.

“The patrol cars can literally log into the system, and they can see the activities in the schools remotely,” Dykes said.

The approved funds will also allow the purchase of additional cameras for the school campuses. Some of the cameras will be added to certain buildings where there are blind spots. Others will be added to longer hallways to shorten the camera views, as well as at some entrances and exits of the campuses.

“We continue to investigate and try to keep our buildings and campuses secure and our students as safe as possible,” Dykes said.

In addition to the camera systems, all Washington County schools have a priority access entry system to enter a campus. Dykes said if an individual goes to any of the WCDE buildings, schools in particular, there is a two-way communication before they can enter the building.

“You must buzz in now before you are allowed entry,” he said.

Other security enhancements include increased fencing, additional vehicle barriers, window tinting and additional security measures for the school buses. Dykes said each school bus has a GPS system, so its movement and behavior can be monitored throughout the day. All bus drivers also have cell phones in case of an emergency.

Safety will also be increased with the presence of School Resource Officers.

Dykes said by the end of the 2014-2015 school year, Washington County Schools will have 12 School Resource Officers, which are all full-time. He said in addition, they have two supervisors who often fill in when needed.

Dykes said six officers are stationed at a particular school full-time, while the other six rotate between schools.

“All schools are covered daily,” he said.

Three new SROs were implemented this school year in a staggered process. Dykes said two of the SROs have come on board already, and the third should be in place in a matter of weeks.

“That is due to the cooperation that we have with the sheriff’s office and willingness of the county commission to also understand the need to increase safety to this level,” he said. “We are very appreciative of the funding provided by the county commission, and the working relationship with the sheriff’s office is quite exceptional. They are wonderful partners to the world of education.”

Dykes said the sheriff’s office essentially stops their world when they call to provide assistance. He said the school system has also engaged in such proactive activities as armed intruder training with the sheriff’s office.

“Our faculty has gone through three sessions of that over the last year and a half,” Dykes said. “We try to increase not only vigilance, but awareness and skills to better protect our children with the worst case scenario (that could) happen.”