Friday, October 30, 2020

Update 10.30.20

 Since my last update, framing and insulation is underway in the classroom addition. Mechanical, plumbing and electrical is being installed throughout the project. The roof is nearly ready for shingles. The chiller has been installed to provide cooling for the building and work is underway to build out the boiler room. Sheetrock is being hung throughout the project. Tile will be installed in the locker rooms soon. Lockers are installed and painting is underway in areas that are ready for it. Iron work railings are installed in the gym.

We anticipate moving existing furniture into the new classroom spaces in early January in preparation for students coming back to the building. While some classes will continue to meet in the old classroom wing, many will be taught in the new classrooms while the remodeling of the interior of the building is underway. We remain on schedule and on budget.

If you're interested in walking through the project, please contact me and I'll arrange for you to participate in the next available tour.

Friday, October 9, 2020

October Update 10.9.20

I thought this might be a good time to talk about where we've been with the project and how this design was developed. After four failed bond attempts to remodel THS, we were offered a Distressed Schools Grant from the State of Washington. This grant was contingent upon the voters in Toledo agreeing to a $7 million bond. Only a handful of school districts have received this grant and we were fortunate that thanks to Rep. Richard Debolt and Rep. Steve Tharinger this was included in the state budget.

In November, 2018, voters in Toledo approved this $7 million bond to build a new school. The language on the ballot was:

BONDS TO CONSTRUCT SCHOOL FACILITIES - $7,000,000 The Board of Directors of Toledo School District No. 237 approved a proposition for bonds. This proposition would authorize the District to acquire, construct and equip a new building for Toledo High School; to issue $7,000,000 of general obligation bonds maturing within a maximum term of 21 years, and to levy excess property taxes annually to repay the bonds, all as provided in Resolution No. 2017-18-16.

 We began the process by hiring an architect- Dowa-IBI (now IBI). Through our usual channels of communication, we invited members of the community, parents and students to participate in the design of the new school. What became apparent to the group early on was that $25 million would not build a high school of the same size and capacity as the current building. The members of the design committee decided to incorporate some of the square footage of the existing school and remodel it while also building new structures to solve some of the problems with the existing school. The design team made a recommendation to the board of directors who accepted it.

The next step was to make the community's design fit within the budget of $25 million. This was no small task and required a lot of estimating and some deep cuts to the design in order to develop something that we thought would elicit bids within our budget. Thankfully, we were successful when Jones and Roberts came in with a very favorable bid. This bid amount allowed us to go back to the community's designs and add back some of the features that we'd initially removed. These include a classroom that was removed, theater-style bleachers in the Commons a chiller for cooling the building and a covered workspace for the shop areas as well as full landscaping for the site.

One thing that we've always said is that if there are savings at the end of the project, those funds will be directed to paying down the bond rather than redirected to other projects. This is still our intent.

While this is not strictly a "new" school, since it is using square footage from the old building, every square inch of the building will receive some refreshment and most will find that it is a new school in every meaningful sense of the word new. Our promise has always been to provide the community with the best school that can be had for $25 million. I hope that when you see the finished product you'll agree that we kept that promise.

If you've driven by the school, you've likely seen that the new classroom spaces have been framed in and sheeted and the roof is  "dried in" and nearly ready for shingles. On the interior, sheetrock and taping are underway in the CTE wing. The locker rooms are receiving paint and new shower floors have been poured. Lighting in the locker rooms is installed and in use. Lockers have begun to be installed in the hallways. We anticipate the wood columns to be delivered and installed sometime next month. As you walk through the project, it is easy to see where things will be and to get a sense of the scale of the building. The gym and shops are brighter thanks to new paint and the installation of new LED lights. The gym has less echo thanks to the installation of acoustic treatments in the ceiling. 

We plan to bring students to campus (COVID permitting) in January when the new classrooms are completed. By waiting,  we will be able to take advantage of the improved ventilation in the new construction. The available space in the old building is quite limited and our ability to social distance is hampered by construction. The office, Commons and kitchen spaces should be complete by mid-February.

If you're interested in the project or have questions, please give me a call. I'm happy to answer questions and talk about the project.