Wednesday, November 14, 2018

What we know now

There have been many questions about the new school. I hope to answer some of them here. If you have a question that I don't answer, be sure to leave a comment or send an email. I'll do my best to address your question.

We made the decision not to hire an architect to design the school prior to passing the bond measure. We did this for several reasons: 1. The cost of doing this was approximately $50,000 and if the bond did not pass,  would have been a waste of money, 2. There wasn't time to fully engage our community in a visioning of a new school. A proper design process can take up to six months. This is why the Citizens for Great Toledo Schools chose to use a picture of Lintott Elementary in Chehalis as an example of what a 21st century school can look like.

Two decisions have been made. We'll be building a new school. That new school will have a pitched (not flat) roof.

Some of the ideas that will be part of the design process:

  • The school will be sited on the existing THS property. Possibly between the current school and the stadium and extending to the rear of the existing school (staff parking lot).
  • We've been advised that remodeling is often more expensive that building new. Because of this, we're not planning to modernize the shop and gyms unless that becomes a less expensive option.
  • We will need to build approximately the same size building (60,000 square feet) in order to maximize state construction assistance and provide for student enrollment.
We are working to evaluate project management firms. These people will act as the district's agent in overseeing the project and keeping our contractors on budget and time. We will also be working with them to schedule the project and assist us with evaluating general contractors and architectural firms.

Most projects are done using a process called "design-bid-build". Under this process, the project is designed and then put out to bid. The low bidder gets the job and does the build. Another process is called "design-build". Under this process, teams comprised of architects and general contractors interview with the board. Once selected, they design the project within the budget and then build the project. 

It has always been the desire of the board to make sure that, to the extent possible, local people be able to participate in the project. We believe that local people will provide top quality and have more of a stake than someone who will complete the project and move on to the next. Under the design-build process, the district would be able to specify that local vendors and tradespeople be given the opportunity to bid as subcontractors. The general contractor with the oversight of the project manager would then be able to hire local firms and people. This  gives us the best opportunity to keep local tax dollars in our community. 

The district will need approval in order to use the design-build process. The agency that reviews our request will meet in January, so we're working hard now to find a project management firm that can help us with the application.

Soon after the beginning of 2019, we'll have the first of a series of community meetings to gather the community's vision for the new high school. We hope you'll choose to be part of the process and you'll check back often for updates on the project.