The Spring Valley School Board is moving forward with plans to build a new elementary school on the Middle/High School campus, and to tear down the old building.
At its Monday, May 6 meeting, the school board heard presentations from SDS Architects and Market & Johnson Construction on the next steps for the new school, as well as a detailed report of how the planning and eventual construction process will progress. The board also heard a presentation from Lisa Voisin of Robert W. Baird & Co. (Baird) regarding financing for the project.
Elementary planning process
Dale Poynter and Chelsea Vorce of SDS Architects, and Randy LaFaive of Market & Johnson, presented the planning and construction process to the school board.
The board will be asked to create a committee to make decisions regarding elementary planning. SDS recommended the board set out guidelines to determine which items will be handled by the committee and which will be handled by the full board. They suggested the board may want to handle decisions regarding items over a certain dollar amount, and ask the committee to handle anything under that dollar amount.
In addition to SDS and Market & Johnson, the district will also work with Auth Consulting for engineering, ERA structure design and Mackeasy and Associates.
Vonce and Poynter went over the three phases of design:
• Schematic design
Right now, the district and SDS are in the process of determining the spaces needed in the new elementary building, such as classrooms, computer labs, etc. Those are being added to a spreadsheet and developed into a plan. Different building footprints and layouts will be considered.
Then, 3D visualizations and 2D floor plans will be put together.
Vonce said it's important to consider what types of spaces the district wants available for the elementary students.
The district and SDS will take a look at the exterior of the building and plan that as well.
There will be a budet update and approval at the end of this portion of the process, expected to finish around the end of June.
• Design development
Once a preliminary idea of what spaces are needed and how they should be configured is determined, it will be time to move on to developing the design.
Vonce and Poynter said engineers will make sure the necessary systems will be in place and will work well together in the building. Systems include HVAC, electricity, plumbing, etc.
At this point, SDS will work heavily with the building committee to determine details such as materials, or needs for storage such as lockers, cubbies, etc.
This process is expected to be complete around the end of December.
At the end of this process, updates on the project progress and budget will be presented to the board.
• Construction document development
This will include SDS architects and engineers working through the details of making sure that HVAC ductwork and plumbing, for example, each have their own space.
The district's committee will make decisions regarding furniture, etc., around this time.
The bidding period is expected to begin around mid-late January, with a 30-day bidding period. SDS will submit the project for review by the state about halfway through this period, so that if the state requires any changes, they can be made and sent out as an addendum to the requests for proposals from bidders.
Construction is planned to begin in Spring 2020. During construction, there will be a meeting every other week on site, with Market & Johnson and SDS representatives. District committee members or representatives will also have a chance to meet regularly as well. The two-week checks will help ensure everything is progressing on schedule, and help the district deal with anything that might come up, Vonce and Poynter said. Once construction is substantially complete-finished enough for students and teachers to begin using the school-there will be another check-through of the building. A "punch-list" of small items that need to be finished will be generated.
Three weeks later, there will be a check to make sure those items were completed, Vonce and Poynter siad.
Eleven months later, Market & Johnson will do another punch list, to take care of anything that might need addressing as part of an 11-month warranty on work done on the building.
Vonce and Poynter clarified that warranties on products will continue past 11 months.
The building is expected to be complete in time for the fall semester of 2021.
Lisa Voisin represented Baird at the May 6 meeting. Baird will assist with the sale of the bonds. The American Deposit Management company will help ensure that funds are deposited in insured accounts, Superintendent Don Haack said.
Voisin said she will be targeting an interest rate on the bonds of 3.5% or less. Once borrowed, the district will be able to invest the money, using the American Deposit Management company, to make some earnings on the investment which can be used to help pay for the project. Some of the money will need to be spent right away, Baird said, but some will not, and that can be invested or deposited for a time and earn interest.
Voisin recommended the board start with a "bridge loan" to get enough money to start the project.
The board reviewed the financing plan Monday, and will look to adopt two resolutions Monday, May 20, looking at the bridge loan and the sale of the bonds.
In the fall, the board would adopt the first tax levy for the debt.
Representatives of Emmaus Church in Spring Valley asked the school board if it might be a possibility to not tear down a portion of the school, including the gymnasium, commons and office areas, for use as a church and community area.
Conversation will continue on this subject, according to Haack. Emmaus Pastor Todd Sauve said Emmaus Church is determining what its next steps will be, if the church leadership decides to take any steps.