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Mehlville approves contracts for new Oakville Elementary

Mike Anthony
Executive Editor
At the May 12 meeting, South Area Superintendent Tim Ricker and Randy Charles, assistant superintendent for finance and the district's chief financial officer, asked the board to delay consideration of the bids for the new Oakville Elementary School, citing concerns about the cost.

"... Really what we need to do is the administration, the designers and the construction managers need to go back and do some more work to ensure that we have the best possible bid prices through some value engineering,'' Ricker told the board at the time.

While the contracts are identical to the ones previously presented to the board, the cost will be reduced by a total of $42,084 through deduct change orders, Charles told the board May 27.

"... The final recommendation, the official recommendation, that we're presenting to the board will be the same figures that you saw two weeks ago,'' Charles said, "The reason for that, we felt that for a variety of reasons because of the public bidding process, it was advisable for us to make our recommendation to you based upon the actual bids received (from) the bidders on bid day. But we will also have a figure for you for any deductions that we've been able to work out with the contractors and those will be accomplished through deduct change orders after we award the contracts.''

The new Oakville Elementary School will be constructed as part of the Mehlville School District's Proposition P districtwide building improvement program. District voters in November 2000 approved a 49-cent tax-rate increase to fund Proposition P.

The board-approved Proposition P budget for the construction of the new Oakville Elementary School was $5,049,000.

However, when the board approved the plans for the new school, members were informed that preconstruction estimates placed the cost of the new building at about $500,000 more than the approved construction budget. At that time, the board was informed that delaying by one year roof repair projects scheduled for the summers of 2004, 2005 and 2006, an additional $500,000 in district capital funds would be available for the project.

However, even with that additional $500,000, the total post-bid estimate exceeded the previously budgeted funds by more than $200,000. With the planned deduct change orders, the project now exceeds the previously budgeted amount by $158,803, which will be funded through additional district capital funds.

Ground is scheduled to be broken around July 1 for the new 53,270-square-foot, one-story elementary school that is designed to accommodate 450 pupils.

The existing school has about 46,000 square feet of space.

The first phase of the Oakville Elementary project will be the removal of hazardous materials from the existing building, followed by the demolition of the building. The board voted in April to award a $228,000 contract to Ahern Contracting Inc. for the abatement of hazardous materials and the demolition work.

Of that $228,000 contract for abatement work, $77,000 is being funded through the Proposition P Hazardous Waste Disposal budget. Demolition work is scheduled to begin June 10 and is expected to take about three weeks. During that time, a sinkhole on the site will be remediated.

Before voting to award the contracts for the work, board members were given an overview of the design development process for the new school by representatives of Dickinson Hussman Architects, the administration and the McCarthy Construction Co., which serves as the Proposition P construction manager.

Before the passage of Proposition P, it was envisioned the new school would house 400 students, said Dwight Dickinson of Dickinson Hussman Architects.

"At that time, we were looking at a 400-student school for Oakville Elementary," Dickinson said. "Once Prop P was passed and we started the actual planning process, I think everybody realized that 450 students should be the goal, and so that became from that point on the goal was to have a building that would house 450 students.''

He noted that more than two years ago, McCarthy created the initial budget of $5,049,000 for the new school, but the actual programming for the building had not yet begun.

"So once we started the programming about a year ago, is when we really began to develop the square footage that was necessary in order to fulfill the curriculum needs for this particular school,'' Dickinson said.

Based on an estimated 50,870-square-foot school, McCarthy last August projected the cost of the project at $5,188,740 — $102 per square foot.

"Then on Oct. 4 of 2002, a revised floor-plan Scheme B was developed that had pushed the square footage up to a little over 53,000 square feet,'' Dickinson continued. "At that time, this scheme, this particular scheme, was rejected by the district because they did not feel that it met all of the curriculum needs. So we went back to the drawing board again and on Nov. 25, we were told to develop a plan that included 850 square feet per (classroom).

"Initially we had started off the classrooms at 800 square feet, but after further discussion and meetings with the district, the administrators felt that we needed 850 square feet in those classrooms. So at that point, the square footage had bumped up to 54,200 square feet," he said.

In early January, McCarthy had formulated a design development estimate that projected the cost of the new school at $6,184,200. "So there was a big jump in there and most of it really was due to that increased square footage,'' Dickinson said.

The next day, value engineering discussions began to identify areas in which the cost could be reduced. "And through that process, we were able to get the cost at that time down to $5,900,000,'' he said, noting that through further value engineering discussions, the cost was reduced to roughly $5,432,000.

Ricker then addressed the school board, anymore.''

Fred Weber has submitted applications to the St. Louis County Department of Health and to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to operate the solid-waste transfer station. As proposed, the transfer station would receive non-hazardous municipal waste, household waste, agricultural, governmental and industrial waste, and transfer the waste from collection trucks to larger carriers that would convey the waste to a landfill.

Fred Weber's proposal comes six months after the company received overwhelming community opposition to a request to locate a solid-waste transfer station in Oakville, not far from the site of the current application. No action was taken on the proposal, which was opposed by Campisi. The councilman also opposes Weber's latest proposal.

Unlike its last proposal, however, Fred Weber's current proposal does not require a zoning change because the M-1 zoning classification of the Baumgartner Road site would allow such a facility, though it must be approved by the county Department of Health and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

"The degradation of the neighborhood is a key issue,'' said Lake of the Woods resident Tom Diehl. "There's been a lot of development in there that is very positive from the standpoint of adding value to the community, including a church, a shopping center and the community college campus. A trash transfer site would just detract from all of that and would spoil the quality of life for everybody that lives there.''

In its application, Fred Weber failed to consider the 2,100 homes, schools, churches and businesses in the area near the transfer facility, Diehl said, contending county officials are "... misreading county regulations and doing a favor for Fred Weber's company.''

But County Counselor Patricia Redington has issued an opinion to Campisi stating that a solid-waste transfer station is a permitted use in the M-1 zoning classification.

And county Department of Planning Director Glenn Powers, who was guest speaker at the town-hall meeting, said county officials can't deny a request just because they don't like it.

"When I turn down a plan for permitted use, I have to say it doesn't comply with this, this and this regulation,'' Powers said.

The Department of Health will conduct a public hearing on Weber's proposal at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at Oakville Senior High School, 5557 Milburn Road.

If the solid-waste transfer station clears that hurdle, Campisi said he intends to exercise the County Council's power of review over Fred Weber's application.

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