Since the last time I reported on construction progress, our entire faculty and staff worked hard during mid-winter break to move the elementary into their new building. And, while there is some work to be completed this summer, students and staff are enjoying their new home. Now, we are all anxiously awaiting the construction of our new middle school. As you remember, at the December 16, 2013 regular board meeting, the La Conner School District Board of Directors made the decision to accept the recommendation of the value analysis team and move forward with the design of an entirely new middle school with the goal of honoring the previous building materials and design, while providing a building that meets building codes, and is cost efficient to operate.
Value Analysis is a process recommended and funded by the State of Washington to provide an independent perspective concerning the quality and cost of a proposed public building project. Joel Davis, of Meng Analysis, led a team of architects, engineers, and building specialists through the analysis process for our elementary to middle school conversion project. The team reviewed the proposed remodel and addition to parts of the existing elementary and voiced concern about adding another addition to a building that is currently comprised of five additions (1950, 1963, 1965, 1983, 1993) to the original 1935 structure. Specifically, the team identified the following risks:
- The condition of numerous pilings is unknown and difficult to assess.
- Since the district is located in the flood plain, current building heights do not meet FEMA or local building code requirements.
- The remodel of existing buildings provides upgrades to major systems, but the basic structure is still a concern.
- Unforeseen conditions in the existing buildings increases the risk of costly changes orders.
- Attracting qualified bidders is a concern due to the complexity of integrating new and old buildings and systems.
Because of the magnitude of these concerns, the value analysis team recommended that the school district seriously consider construction of an entirely new building to serve as the middle school. Benefits of new construction include the following:
- A new building simplifies construction and will attract more competition in the bidding process.
- New buildings will meet FEMA and local elevation code requirements.
- New buildings allow for efficient use of space specifically designed to meet program requirements.
- Energy and maintenance costs can be reduced with efficient new buildings and systems with greater opportunities for sustainable design.
- An entirely new building can be built within the current budget proposed for the remodel/addition project.
- A new building will provide a greater long-term value.
With the goal of starting construction on our new middle school right after the 4th of July, the architectural team is currently putting the final touches on construction documents. When you visit our campus you will see construction fencing around the old elementary building as we do final preparations for its demolition. More...