(by Don Meador, Public Information Officer, Allen County Schools)
The approximate $8 million dollar renovation of the James E. Bazzell Middle School will soon begin in earnest. Meeting in special session last Thursday, the Allen County Board of Education approved contracts to successful bidders on the various components of the first phase of the extensive project.
Board members awarded multiple contracts as recommended by the projects’ architect Sherman, Carter, and Barnhart. In addition, Board members approved Superintendent Randall Jackson to execute the requisition of finds and execute the contract closeout documents as required in the process. The Board also approved Director of District Operations Brian carter to secure Builders’ Risk Insurance for 100 percent of the construction costs.
The contract approval will allow the work to move forward. One of the first outside signs of the renovation will be prep work and paving of an expansion of the school’s front parking lot. This portion of phase one is expected to begin within weeks. Inside work scheduled to start prior to the start of school in August will include ceiling removal, removal of equipment from walls and establishment of temporary lighting to prepare for in-session construction to continue.
Jamison Sills of the Lexington-based architectural firm Sherman Carter Barnhart (SCB) addressed the board and provided visual drawings and virtual looks at what is being planned to give the building an “electrical, finish and communications upgrade.”
“We are about 50 percent done with our design of phase two development documents, “ Sills explained. “The plan is that we will bid phase two in August and be able to start phase two in September.”
The second phase will involve six classrooms in the upstairs section of the building.
“Phase one involved demolishing and prepping the rooms for us to be ready to run in September,” Sills said. “Phase two involves moving down the hallway which will allow us to work on the upper floor all at once.”
Sills also shared with the Board the remaining phases of the project. Phase three will include work on the north end of the downstairs section with phases four and phase five moving southward on the lower hallway. Phase six will be during the summer of 2017 and include work in the athletic and fine arts sections of the building.
“The media center (library) will also be in the last phase,” Sills said. “The media center will have some temporary classrooms until then. That will allow us to grab six classrooms at a time.”
Sills also walked the Board through a review of the overall project. Board members learned how the project will include an expansion and redesign of the administrative office area---an upgrade that will add space to the reception areas and create a more secure entrance. Renovation will also include adding a nurses office in that area of the building as well as an office for the school’s new instructional coach.
The Board also watched a visual presentation which highlighted the color scheme that’s being planned for the existing lobby area. Board members also watched a virtual presentation of what the new library will look like after work is completed. The Board was also able to see the basic layout of each classroom and the computer lab areas.
Sills also noted that the cafeteria will see revisions. Most noticeable will be the addition of two windows facing the current sidewalk which leads from the bus unloading area to the lobby’s rear doors. An expansion of serving lines and other minor revisions are planned as well.
The Board approved the architect’s phase two documents and authorized the architect t proceed with plans to submit the necessary BG-2 Form to the Kentucky Department of Education for approval.