Office at Stewart to be remodeled

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


The Washington School Board approved remodeling the offices at Stewart Elementary this summer at the meeting Wednesday evening.

The new office will be configured close to how the office is set up at Lincoln Elementary, superintendent Jeff Dicks said.

?We want to create a funnel for people that they have to go through to enter the building,? Dicks said. ?Currently, they could go into the lunchroom [or] gym. They could go straight and then we really trust that they check in at the office.?

With the new office design, people will have to enter through the office just as they do at Lincoln and the interior doors will be locked, he added.

?You can?t get through unless you have a key,? Dicks said. ?It?s very sobering that we?re talking about this because this is a safety and security issue. Before the meeting people were talking about the news in Florida. I know Mr. Miller has brought this up to me since I got here and he convinced Jeff Brock (technology director) to start talking to me about it and we really started looking at it. It is one of those open places we have ? similar to the middle school.?

The estimated cost for the remodeling is $121,835.06. Most of the work will be done by employees in the district to help keep the cost down, Dicks added. The nurses? office will also be moved and will include a shower.

?Will this be done during the summer?? board president Eric Turner asked Dicks.

The construction will be done this summer, but it could affect the start date of the summer lunch program, Dicks said. There is some asbestos to be abated, which could happen as soon as the teachers are out of the building.

?When does the summer lunch [program] start?? Turner asked Dicks.

?We?re waiting on this to really determine,? Dicks replied.

The asbestos will have to be abated before the summer lunch program begins, he added. There is a different entry into the school people can take to get to the summer lunch program, but the asbestos has to be taken care of first.

?Was there any competitive bids for this project?? board member Jason Hamilton asked Dicks.

The estimated cost of construction was $69,000. For anything under $100,000 the district doesn?t have to get competitive bids, Dicks said. They?ve worked with a lot of the people who will provide items, such as carpet and electrical work, and have good relationships with them.

If the district decided to seek competitive bids a construction manager would need to come in and design the space to make it fair, Dicks said. This would increase the cost of the project.

?I?m not trying to step on anybody?s toes here, but sometimes contractors get a little complacent and write their own meal ticket when they know they have jobs locked up,? Hamilton said.

Getting competitive bids may be something the school district wants to look into, he added.

The district has good relationships with the contractors involved in this project and has an idea what the prices should be, Dicks said.

?That was another question I had ? so the HVAC and the plumbing in the data costs, I assume, are relatively low for this project,? Hamilton said, ?so is that estimated labor or is that estimated materials??

This was just for the materials, Dicks said.

Hamilton asked Dicks what these employees would typically be doing in the summer. Dicks said they usually work on major projects in the summer, like this.

The board approved the project unanimously.

Board member Heidi Vittetoe was absent.