Tuesday, February 12, 2019

February 12 Update

Doug Nichols and I have begun working in earnest to get all of the pre-design work underway. We have posted RFQs for Architects, Geotechnical Engineers, Surveyors and others to examine sensitive lands issues (archeology, wetlands, hazardous materials, etc.) Doug's team will begin interviewing staff to develop the educational specifications for the building (how many rooms, what kinds of spaces are needed, equipment, storage, etc.) during the coming week.

Doug  has created a tentative schedule for the project that has all of this pre-design work complete prior to the end of March. Schematic design work is scheduled to commence in mid-March. This is like an "outline" design of the building- floor plans, elevations, and siting. When that is complete, the first costing of the project will take place. Costing is done by a firm that specializes in cost estimating. Following that will be value engineering- can we do this better for less? 

The big question I'm always asked is "when do we break ground?" This schedule has us breaking ground the first week in November. Construction would continue through Feb. 2021 with commissioning and State Agencies' approval by March, 2021.

Remember, this is a tentative schedule and these are aggressive marks to hit. These dates depend upon no unforeseen circumstances. If you've ever built anything, you know that there are always unforeseen circumstances.

A small group of community members toured schools north of us. Of particular interest was Hawk Elementary School in Bremerton. This school received the most positive response at the visioning meeting in January. Many people commented on the use of wood in the construction and a design that looks "Northwest". Ross Parker has  created a summary of the tours that will be shared with the Design Committee at their next meeting (TBA).

I attended training on the State Construction Assistance Program last week. This is the program that will provide an estimated $9.8 million toward our project. I understand a lot more about the process and why it is so important to have a construction management firm working with us. Nichols will take care of getting the necessary forms and documents together in a timely fashion so that cash flow isn't interrupted during the project. Given that our local funds are small compared to the size of the project and approximately $18 million of the $25 million total will be dependent upon reimbursement from the state, cash flow is likely to be an issue during the project.

Final thought: Bond proceeds can only be used to build a new high school. Nothing from the bond can be used to support operations or any other school. Today is election day and TSD has a levy proposal on the ballot. The proposal will mean a reduction in what you paid last year and a continuation of what you'll pay this year. It renews your support of our programs and people. I urge you to submit your ballot by 8 p.m. today.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Nichols Consulting Chosen as Construction Manager

Following an extensive process that included posting to local and Seattle newspapers and trade journals requesting statements of qualifications, screening by a committee of community members, reference checks and culminating with board interviews last night, the board has selected Doug and Suzanne Nichols of Nichols Consulting to serve as the Construction Managers for the high school project.

Doug brings a wealth of experience working with small districts on capital projects of all kinds. His team's fiscal background will also assist us in staying on budget in a volatile construction climate. I'll be working with him over the next few days to finalize a contract. He plans to begin work immediately. Doug has a fondness for working with small school districts. He spent quite a bit of time researching our project and our community prior to submitting his qualifications.

First steps will be to arrange for surveying, soil testing and sensitive lands (historical and archeological) issues. We'll also begin the process of looking for an Architect/Engineering firm. Doug will begin putting together a schedule for the project. He'll also be helping us engage a consultant to do the educational specifications for the project and cost estimating. There will be a frenzy of activity over the next few weeks and months as we work through the design process.

Our thanks to the teams from OAC and Construction Services Group for their interest in our project. While not selected to work with us, these teams are of high caliber and worked hard to partner with us. We're grateful for their efforts and wish them well in their future projects.