Lynn Wilson put it simply: Things are going “very well” at .
Wilson, the director of business services, operations and capital projects for the Clover Park School District, said that the construction of a new school is proceeding as planned.
The district opened bids for a general contractor on July 12 and will go to the school board on Monday with a resolution to ask it to accept a low bid and award a contract so construction can begin at 8102 Phillips Road S.W. The project is estimated to cost about $48 million.
“We’re pretty much on schedule there, within our cost estimates, and we’re moving right along,” Wilson said. “We should start to see construction soon, and based on the progress of the general contractor and the weather, we would like to move in spring or summer of 2013.”
Wilson said that filing numerous forms to secure money from the State Construction Assistance Program, also known as state match, was the first major step.
“The state gives the D8 form that is the state’s qualifying you for the amount of state match you will get, and you have to get that, literally, to open the bids,” Wilson said. “If you don’t have the D8 from the state, you can’t open them. But we were able to complete it in a timely manner.”
The State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction recently announced that the state is releasing more than $313 million in capital construction money to school districts across the state for the 2011-13 biennium. Clover Park is among the 24 districts receiving money, but Wilson said that the amount will not change.
“That’s part of their funding and their capital-project funding for the budget – the money they use to fund state match,” he said. “It doesn’t really impact what we get because it’s based on a formula.”
Wilson said that once the state qualifies a district to receive money, “you’re good to go.”
“That’s the biggest deal in making your projects spin – working with the state of Washington and OSPI, he said.
Wilson said the state releasing money for school-construction projects benefits CPSD in the long run. After all, if there were limited or no funds, districts would be forced to compete against each other – or lower their allowable area for construction.
“The state made it a priority – it was a No. 1 item in the capital budget,” he said. “We were obviously pleased with that.”
Wilson said that schools qualify for funding for either modernization of existing facilities or building new in lieu, based on square footage. Hudtloff is an entirely new-in-lieu project and is based on the space being taken out of inventory. The district is required to replace the same amount.
“Once we build a new Hudtloff and move staff and students in there, we will remove the old space from our inventory of instructional space,” Wilson said. “(The state) doesn’t care if you sell it, demolish it – you can do anything you want.”
Wilson said that most school districts tear down old buildings, but occasionally will remodel for professional development or administrative space. When CPSD built a new in 2008, the old school was gone “literally in a matter of weeks.”
The new Hudtloff, a 100,000-square-foot, two-story building, will house about 800 students in grades six through eight. It is about 12,700 square feet larger than the existing facility built in 1957. The project includes sports fields, tennis courts and demolition of the current building.
The new school will be constructed between the existing school, the west field and north property line. There will be two access points: one for parent drop-offs and one for buses. The latter will be to the south, near Custer Elementary.
As the project moves forward, Wilson said that he feels the hard part – on the business-office side, at least – is in the rearview mirror now. The site work has gone well, and the next step is getting a general contractor on-site.
“I don’t expect any surprises at Hudtloff; it’s a pretty clean project,” he said. “We own the property and the existing space is a nice cordoned area we can fence off to keep kids safe during construction.
“It’s going to be a beautiful school. We’re excited about what we got from the architects and I think it’s going to be a really nice addition to the community.”
Construction of a new middle school is part of a $92 million school-construction bond proposition approved by voters in February 2010. In addition to the Hudtloff project, the district will build a new school for the consolidated Oakwood and Southgate elementaries, and a new Harrison Prep Academy. Both will be located on property adjacent to Clover Park Technical College.