Wednesday, June 3, 2020

June Update 6/3/20

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted my regular updates. There is a lot of good  news to report.

Because we received such a positive bid on our project, we've been working to add back a number of the features of the building that were lost to cost-cutting prior to the bidding. In addition, we'll be able to accomplish some things that will improve the facility that we didn't think we could afford. Many of these improvements will be in the gym. The gym floor will be completely refinished from bare wood. New graphics and coatings will be applied and the floor will look like new. We will add aisles and handrails to the "Band side" bleachers to improve access for senior citizens. The seats lost to these aisles will be made up with new "short stack" bleachers on the mezzanine of the gym (5 rows/ 125 seats). We will add an acoustic curtain on the mezzanine to allow separation of the gym and mezzanine for classes and different activities to take place at the same time. New acoustic treatments in the gym will improve the ability to hear announcers and music.

In the Commons, we'll be able to add collapsible theater seating. This will give us the ability to have proper theatrical productions and meetings.

A classroom that was removed from the initial design will be added in and additional space for our LifeSkills classroom has been added.

We will have improved and more organized parking in the redesigned and expanded lots. The lot at the baseball field will be organized to allow for more parking spaces and the new walkway from the field to the school will keep pedestrians safer.

We will need to use the tennis court as a parking lot for staff and visitors during construction. This will effectively ruin the courts and make them unplayable. Initially, we thought we would have to either find grants to restore the courts or demolish them. Happily, there is budget capacity to restore and upgrade them to quality playing surfaces.

Finally, the landscaping that was removed from the initial project will be added. This will give nice plantings in the front of the building, an outdoor seating area near the Commons, a small outdoor classroom seating space and the whole south side of the building will be converted to an outdoor learning space- new greenhouse, meadow and forest learning areas for the study of prairie ecosystems and forestry, raised beds for gardening and fruit trees. This will also be a great venue for outdoor concerts.

Because of the closure of schools, our contractors have been able to work without having to be concerned about students and staff on campus. This means that our project is moving quicker. While we are still predicting that we'll complete the project in August, 2021, work on phase two has begun about two weeks ahead of schedule and phase one projects are moving quickly.

The forms for the foundation of the new exterior walls are in and concrete will likely be poured in the next two weeks. The locker room plumbing is installed and footings for the new supports for the ceiling have been poured. We expect the new locker room floor to be poured in the next two weeks and the new walls chalked-in shortly after that.

Initial demolition of the CTE space is complete and asbestos abatement is currently underway. When it is completed, I plan to take photos of the cleared space. This work is the beginning of phase two.

Most of the excavation work is complete and the storm water, main water, main electrical and gas utilities have been located or relocated. Our thanks to the folks at our local excavation contractor- Midway- for their work on the project.

There is a link to our construction camera on our website or you can go to Youtube and search "THS Construction". This will show you the construction site 24/7.

Friday, March 27, 2020

March 27

Construction is underway. Just as Midway began excavating, Governor Inslee closed all non-essential operations in the state. We were worried, but learned yesterday that our construction project is considered "essential"! This means J&R can go ahead as long as they are observing social distancing protocols (they are). Here are some photos of the site taken this morning.

J&R Site Offices

 Installation of the new temporary front entrance

 Locker Room demolition and electrical work begins

 Storage trailer

Sare Electrical- Our Electrical Contractor

We're planning to bring back some additional square footage in the form of an additional classroom and increased space for our LifeSkills classroom as well as theater seats in the Commons, installation of the outdoor classroom and much more. It will be awhile before you'll be able to see a lot of work on the exterior of the building, but things are happening. To the extent that I'm able, I'll post photos here as this blog is updated.

Friday, March 20, 2020

March 20 Update

I've had some questions from our community and realized that I haven't updated this blog in awhile. Because our bid came back so positive, we've been examining some of the features that the design team removed from the bid to keep costs low. We're awaiting firm estimates, but it appears that we'll be able to add most, if not all of them back into the project- including a classroom that was removed and expanding the LifeSkills room so that it won't be so crowded. Other features that may return to the project include upgrades to the gym mezzanine, engineered stairs to the shop mezzanines, refinishing the gym floor to include new graphics, retractable, theater-style seating in the commons, upgraded ceiling treatment in the Spirit Hall, repairs to the parking lot, restoration of the tennis courts, fully-installed outdoor classroom, and full landscaping.

Jones & Roberts (J&R) have begun mobilizing their equipment including their office trailer to the THS site. Surveyors have marked the location of the new path from the ball field parking lot to the school. The project remains on schedule with phase one already underway. The construction camera is available at Because no one is in school for a few weeks, construction fencing isn't necessary. J&R have elected to wait to install that until we return to school. The new front door has been delivered and will be installed soon. J&R were in the building today looking at the locker rooms in preparation for demolition.

J&R has given us no indication that the COVID-19 event will impact the project in the near term, but we're all working in a fluid environment. Fortunately, we've not had much rain so some of the days built into the project for rain won't need to be used (yet).

As always, if you have questions about the project, be sure to give me a call or send me an email. I appreciate those in our community that have done so.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

March 3 Update

Our project continues on schedule. We're expecting our contractors,  Jones and Roberts, to locate their office trailers on site today and to begin installing fencing on Thursday. First steps will be to install the new front door and to create a pathway from the Baseball parking lot to the school. This path will allow students, staff and visitors to access the school without having to walk in the parking lot.

Value Engineering removed several features of the community's design in order to bring the project in under budget. Our bids were very competitive and we now find that we may be able to restore some of those features. Some of those include landscaping, refinishing the gym floor, retractable theater seating in the Commons and others. Those features that were removed are receiving new cost estimates and recommendations will be taken to the Board in the coming months.

Staff and students at THS have been working hard to pack up and get ready for construction. Mr. Huffman and the staff meet regularly to address the many details associated with sharing a school with a construction project. Everyone is very excited and looking forward to seeing the new school take shape.

Remember, you can view the construction site in real time by going to our construction cam.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Project update February 4

We opened bids for the high school project on January 14. With all of our alternates included, the firm of Jones and Roberts was the apparent low bidder with a bid of $17,315,400. There were six bids considered and five of them were within 1.8% of one another. This is an indication that this was a very competitive process and that the drawings by IBI Group were clear. Both of these are good for the District. 

According to their website,

“Jones and Roberts has been helping clients construct healthy and functional spaces.  Since 1965 we have grown from two small Tacoma, Washington companies into a leading regional construction firm recognized for our quality, integrity and reliability.  Our long term perspective is to build value for both the client and the community.”

Jones and Roberts were the contractors on the renovation of Toledo Middle and Elementary schools in 1996.

On Jan. 16, the Board voted to award the bid to Jones and Roberts. We signed the contract with them at the end of the Groundbreaking Ceremony on Jan. 31.

The design team's  estimate for the project was approximately $19 million. The $17.3 million bid gives us the prospect of being able to go back to the original designs from our community and add back some of the features that were eliminated in the bid plans. This collaborative process will provide additional value to the final facility.

Ceremonial groundbreaking took place on Friday, January 31 at 4 p.m. in the parking lot of THS. The theme for this event was “Honoring the Past, Embracing the Present, Building for the Future”. Speakers included Cowlitz Indian Tribe Councilwoman Patty Kinswa-Gaiser, First Principal of the current THS, Denny Clark, Board President, Jerad Buswell, ASB President Greenlee Clark, Wyatt Nef, Class of 2022 (first graduating class from the new building), Ross Parker, Architect and Pastor Joe Martin of the Toledo First Baptist Church.

A  camera has been installed at the stadium to livestream progress on the construction site. Patrons will be able to access real time images of the construction as it is happening.

We’ll be meeting with Jones and Roberts on Feb 13 for the preconstruction meeting. This is where we’ll get into the details of construction and phasing. You should see evidence of construction taking place by the end of February. First steps will be construction fencing and a new, temporary main entrance to the south of the current entrance (away from the gym).

This is an exciting step forward in creating a new Toledo High School. Thanks to the generosity of our community and the participation of Washington State, Toledo will get a new school that is designed to last another 50 years.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

December 5 Update

The high school project has been advertised to bidders for a couple of weeks now. At last check, three companies had requested plans. Subcontractors are working on their bids and will be submitting to the General Contractors who have pulled plans. We've advertised in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce as well as in the Lewis County News, The Daily News and the Chronicle. I'm hearing from folks in our community that they're planning to submit subcontractor bids. Wishing everyone good fortune as we move forward.

We'll have a meeting for interested General Contractors on Dec. 10 so that they can get an on-site view of the project and ask questions of the architects and engineers. Bidding will close on January 14 with bid opening at 3:15 p.m. at the Toledo District Office.

We're tentatively planning on a ceremonial groundbreaking on January 31 at 4 p.m. The project is scheduled to officially begin on February 3.

We've arranged with ToledoTel to install a video camera on the stadium that will stream live video of the project. We plan to include this view on the kiosks we've installed at the schools and at the Community Library and Post Office. We'll also have a view available on our website. This will give community members the opportunity to watch construction in real time 24/7.

Our architects from IBI Group will be on hand on Monday Dec. 16 to give students at THS a virtual reality "walk through" of the new school. Using VR technology, students will be able to "look around" the new school. Should be an exciting morning.

By clicking this link, you'll see IBI's presentation to the Building Committee last month. It includes floor plans and phasing as well as some interior renderings. Those pages have a QR code in the upper right corner.  Use your smartphone's camera to capture a code. It should take you to a Virtual Reality version of that area of the  high school. By moving your phone around, you can see what the school is planned to look like inside.

Everyone is getting very excited for the start of construction. A lot of work has gone into the design and engineering of the building. We've done quite a bit of work to minimize change orders and to try to predict where there will be uncertainties. We're looking forward to seeing the plans begin to take shape.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

October 31 Update

We're working to get all of the government agencies to sign off on our construction plans in preparation for bidding in late November. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) needs to give us permission to go to bid. Agencies such as the County Health Department, Building Department, Energy, Labor and Industries and others are required to review and approve our plans before OSPI will green light our bid process. We plan to post our first advertisement for bids on November 26. Most of our agency reviews are complete and will be submitted to OSPI soon.

Our plans have also been submitted to an independent architectural/engineering firm for constructibility review. These consultants review our plans to be sure that they are clear and that errors and omissions are reduced. I think of this process like proofreading for construction. In addition, we've submitted our plans for a final cost estimate to confirm that we've prepared a project that is likely to be bid within our budget.

The building committee plans to meet on November 12 to review and approve the materials for the interior spaces. They'll also get a look at the Virtual Reality renderings of the interior. There are two views of the Commons space at these links. By clicking and dragging, you can get a 360* view of the space as it is designed.

Commons from Main Entrance. 
Commons from gym access corridor.

These pages take awhile to load, so be patient.

We've begun work with a consultant to identify furniture, fixtures and equipment that can be retained, repurposed and refinished. She'll also work with us to identify items that need to be replaced. We're in the process of inventorying artwork and heritage items (like David Ike's portrait and composite photos of our graduating classes) so that they can be properly stored and a place for them can be prepared in the new school.

Our schedule calls for the first ad for bids will be on November 26. Our  second ad will be on December 3. We'll have a pre-bid walk on December 10. The final addendum will be January 7. Bid opening will be one week later on January 14. Construction will start on February 3. The first things that people will notice are the construction fences going up and the new main entrance to the school being constructed.

We encourage all local tradespeople to make themselves aware of the bid documents and to participate in bidding. It is our hope that our school can be built by local people to the extent that bid laws allow. We plan to advertise heavily in the local area and on our Facebook page, website and this blog so that our local tradespeople can participate fully in this process.