Washougal School District moves forward on construction planning (Photo)
The new Jemtegaard Middle School will bring an end to the use of worn out portables, remove the unsafe situation of students traveling outside for each class change and provide the ability to lock the school down in case of an emergency.
The Washougal School District Board of Directors took action on April 28 to move forward the $57 million district construction project approved by Washougal voters in the February bond election. A contract was signed to hire Richard Yeo of R&C Management to oversee design and construction. The board also announced the selection, pending signed contracts, of two local architecture firms, BBL Architects and LSW Architects, to lead construction design.
"Yeo will serve as the Construction Project Manager and will be engaged early in the design and planning phase to ensure the project design meets the program requirements without exceeding the district's budget," said Dawn Tarzian, WSD superintendent. "He offers a collaborative approach to construction management that will save time and money with a single point of leadership on the entire project."
R&C Management was selected in part for their extensive school construction experience which includes all phases of the construction process. "The team included in their successful application a commitment to maintaining the partnership with staff and community that the district has worked hard to build," said Tarzian. "R&C has demonstrated a commitment to successful collaboration with its clients and partners. In their proposal, R&C pledged to allow all stakeholders to have a voice in the process while assuring proactive and candid communications."
The architectural firms were selected through a process dictated by school board policy that included committee review of proposals, presentations by candidates, and a qualification metric to score the qualifications that were most important to the district.
BBL Architects was selected to work on the new transportation facility, safety and security upgrades at all district schools, and the roofing and HVAC projects at Hathaway and Gause Elementary schools. The firm has considerable experience in the area of transportation facilities in area districts such as Beaverton, Centennial and North Clackamas.
LSW Architects has been selected for design of the district's three new schools. "They are well-respected and had the most experience in new school design among the candidates," said Joe Steinbrenner, WSD Facilities Director. "They also scored very highly in their experience in working with the Scenic Columbia River Gorge Area permitting process."
The district will solicit parents, staff and community for input on the desired features and amenities of the new schools through future surveys and community forums. "Knowing that we have a fixed budget for the projects, the district will consider input from stakeholders to create safe and secure facilities that will serve our community for many years to come, while at the same time assuring that all of the projects identified for bond resources be completed," Tarzian said.
The planned construction work is the result of a yearlong evaluation by a Long Range Facilities Planning Committee. The committee considered school needs and conditions which lead to a recommendation to the WSD Board to go to voters for a bond election. Recommended projects included several priorities for the district, including improving school entrance safety as well as planning for anticipated growth. The district has grown by an average of 50 students per year over the past three years.
The district is currently working to build a master schedule for the projects that is expected to be completed in June 2015. It is anticipated that the three new schools (JMS, Excelsior High School, and the new elementary) will open no later than September 2018.
Evidence of construction will begin appearing this summer, when fencing will be placed around JMS to assure student and staff safety in the current building while the new facility is being built. Remodeling each school's front entrance to enhance security will be among the first construction work to get underway in Summer 2016.
Information on the construction process will be shared regularly with the community through the WSD website, Facebook page, and school newsletters.
Caption - The new Jemtegaard Middle School will bring an end to the use of worn out portables, remove the unsafe situation of students traveling outside for each class change and provide the ability to lock the school down in case of an emergency.