By MIKE ANTHONY
|A worker places new letters on the front of Mehlville Senior High School as one of the final touches of Proposition P improvements at the school.|
The demolition of Oakville Elementary School could be under way this week, according to Mehlville School District Superintendent Tim Ricker.
The school is being demolished to make way for a new Oakville Elementary School that will be constructed as part of the school district's $72.4 million Proposition P districtwide building improvement program. District voters in November 2000 approved a 49-cent tax-rate increase to fund Proposition P.
Asbestos abatement work at Oakville Elementary School began last month at the conclusion of the 2002-2003 school year. In addition, a sinkhole on the site has been remediated.
"Today (July 10) they are still finalizing taking out the windows,'' Ricker told the Call. "They did all the asbestos abatement in which there was a little more asbestos in there than we thought, but not a huge problem. They finished the work on the remediation of the sinkhole and it was actually less than they thought it would be. So the asbestos is a little more and the sinkhole a little less.
"We're waiting to see from the subcontractor about the actual demolition ... If not this week, next week they'll start on it,'' he said, noting demolition will take two to three weeks to complete.
Once demolition is completed, a groundbreaking ceremony will be conducted for the new 53,270-square-foot, one-story elementary school that is designed to accommodate 450 pupils.The former school had about 46,000 square feet of space.
Also planned, Ricker said, are neighborhood meetings designed to inform nearby residents about the construction and the new school. The meetings, the superintendent said, will show residents "exactly what's going to take place as far as construction's concerned and then also show them the plan of the new building.''
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new elementary school tentatively is scheduled for mid-August, Ricker said, and "kind of will tie in to what we want to do at the beginning of the year anyway with the opening of the new Bernard middle. We've got all these renovations. We did kind of a celebration at Trautwein last year, but we'll be finished with Oakville High and Mehlville High, so we're going to have either rededications or celebrations or open houses at all of the locations that we finished our work on.
"Now that the windows are done, we're kind of at the end of our punch lists, we want to make sure that we have celebrations of some sort at each of the sites so the community has an opportunity to get in and look around and see what has actually taken place,'' he added.
Mehlville officials hope to obtain a temporary occupancy permit for Bernard Middle School, which has been called the flagship of Proposition P, any day now. The cost of the two-story, 125,000-square-foot building is estimated at $13,300,800 — the most expensive Proposition P project.
Construction of Bernard Middle School, along with renovation and expansion work at the district's existing three middle schools — Washington, Buerkle and Oakville — will allow the district to fully implement the middle school concept by housing sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in the same building.
Once Bernard Middle School is completed, the district will have four middle schools, instead of three, and 10 elementary schools instead of 11. The school board has approved new elementary and middle school attendance boundaries that are effective with the coming school year.
For the 2003-2004 school year, Oakville Elementary pupils will attend classes at Bernard Accelerated School while Oak-ville Elementary is constructed. Bernard Accelerated later will be razed.
"We hope to get temporary occupancy permits for all of our facilities so that we can transition our cleaning crew in from the construction cleaning crew and then systematically wax and buff and get all of the furniture, fixtures and equipment in. The two big projects that we're putting new furniture in would be Bernard Middle and then the wing of Washington Mid-dle,'' Ricker said.
After obtaining a temporary occupancy permit for Bernard Middle School, tours of the facility will be open to the public — perhaps later this month.
The Board of Education is scheduled to consider a revised Proposition P budget when it meets Monday, July 21.
Under the proposed revised Proposition P budget, nearly $13.7 million in additional expenditures are planned on Proposition P-related projects through mid-2008, bringing the total cost of the districtwide building improvement program to more than $86 million.
As proposed, the total cost of the districtwide building improvement program and related projects would be $86,090,548 through June 30, 2008. That includes the board-approved budget of $72.4 million, plus another $13,690,548 in district capital funds — excess revenue generated by the 49-cent tax-rate increase.