Friday, January 18, 2019

Progress the week of January 14

We've completed reference reviews of all three firms. At their regular meeting last night, the boad requested a special meeting to interview the manager from each firm who would be assigned to the project as well as any ancillary staff that the firm's wish to send. We're working to coordinate these interviews now and to schedule this meeting as soon as possible.

Dowa/IBI has assisted us in scheduling two tours of recently-completed schools. The first tour will take place on January 23 and will visit Woodland HS, Hockinson MS and HS and Parkrose MS. 15 members of the Design Committee will be on this all-day tour and will bring back their impressions to help guide the design process. On January 30, we'll repeat the process and visit schools to the north of Toledo. Ross Parker from Dowa/IBI is confirming the schools today and should have the final roster by next week. Each of these schools is comparable in scale to the new THS and some are award winners for design.

Dowa/IBI has forwarded images from the visioning meeting as well as a video of the event. You can find them here. This is my first attempt to upload a video and I'm hoping it works. If you have problems, please email me. I may upload to YouTube if this isn't working. The video is 2 hours long, so you'll want to pop some popcorn and settle in if you plan to watch the whole thing (I didn't)

Once a Construction Management (CM) is selected, meetings will begin in earnest to develop a Request for Qualifications for architects and to develop educational specifications and construction schedule.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Construction Management Progress this week

The Design Committee scored the Statements of Qualification and narrowed the field to three firms:

  • Nichols Consulting 
  • Construction Services Group

I've been working this week to contact references and to develop additional sources of data on these firms so that I can advise the board. The board is expected to set a special meeting to conduct interviews of the firms and to make a decision on who to represent the district's interests in managing the construction of the new school.

This is an important position. The firm selected will be responsible for managing all aspects of the project from pre-design through selection of the architect to bids, construction, close-out and commissioning. They will represent the district in all of these regards and it is their expertise that will bring the project in on budget and schedule.

While there is a desire to complete this project as soon as possible, it is more important to do it right rather than doing it quick. On the other hand, construction costs are escalating quickly. Three years ago, we could have gotten a lot more for our money than we can now and costs continue to rise. This balance of do it right vs. do it fast (and for less money) is what we're counting on our Construction Manager to do.

Community Visioning Meeting

Sixty community members, staff and students met on January 10 to envision a new Toledo High School. The purpose was to hear some of the ideas that have been surfacing in the community and generate some excitement for the project. The meeting was facilitated by the architectural firm Dowa/IBI ("DOW-uh eye-bee-eye") The team included Jason King, a 2007 graduate of Toledo High School who now works as a Civil Engineer in Boise.

Participants shared memories of the current school and important places and then looked at photographs of existing schools. They placed red dots on photos of things that they wouldn't like to be part of the new school and blue dots on photos of things that are attractive. The facilitators captured comments made during the visioning. In addition, participants recorded additional thoughts about the new school that were collected by the team. We're expecting a summary in a few weeks. When I receive it, I'll post it here. I'm adding the photos (without dots) as an attachment to this posting for your review. Visioning Displays

When the Visioning portion of the meeting was concluded, I presented information about a levy proposal that  will be on the February ballot. The current operations levy is expiring at the end of the year and a replacement is proposed to maintain the levels of programming and staffing that the community has come to expect from the schools. Levies pay for things that the State does not: athletics, extra curricular activities and travel, and Music to name a few. In addition, levy dollars support maintaining courses in CTE such as Wood and Metal Shop and Careers in Education. Finally, levy dollars supplement maintenance and repairs as well as low class sizes and additional instructional supports.

The current levy is $1.1 million and we've been paying for that since 2015. The proposed replacement for that levy is $895,000 for two years. This is a 67 cents/ $1000 DECREASE in tax rates for our community.

I've been asked why the district is asking for more money after just receiving $7 million. The answer is simple: the $7 million bond can only pay for a new high school. Not one penny can be diverted to operations. Nor can that money be used to repair or enhance any other school in the district.

The levy will continue the programs and services that are already offered and continue them. It is not a new tax. You can see a list of what the levy supports and a comparison of tax rates from 2017-2021 here Tax Rates

There was concern that our community might not be aware of the levy and that turnout would be too low to validate the election. We've learned today that no validation is required. The passage of the levy will be dependent upon the total votes cast only. No turnout threshold is required.

The Design Committee will begin looking at the visions of the community including drawings by students, emails to Dale Merten (Chair of the Design Committee) and input at future meetings to design the new school.