Classes to begin, end early to accommodate work slated to start in fall
The approval of a $39.9 million Grafton School District referendum last week cleared the way for the beginning of construction in September, according to a schedule that will require classes to begin and end early next school year.
On Monday, the School Board approved a revised 2017-18 calendar that calls for classes to begin Aug. 28 and end May 25.
According to Supt. Jeff Nelson, the number of instructional hours exceeds the state’s requirement, in case of a weather emergency.
Because the school year will begin before Sept. 1 the calendar was approved by the Department of Public Instruction on Tuesday.
Nelson said the calendar was changed at the request of Hoffman Planning, Design and Construction, the architectural firm hired to oversee the project.
“Hoffman has requested that the district will end its 2017-18 school year early to provide more time for construction on the school buildings without students or staff present,” Nelson said.
Work is to start in the fall with construction of classroom and gym additions at Kennedy and Woodview elementary schools.
Both of the schools’ kitchens will be remodeled and classrooms updated with new technology.
The elementary schools will have a new security system installed. Additional work will include painting, replacing ceiling tiles and improving the schools’ heating, air conditioning and ventilation.
Renovations to both schools are planned to begin in June of 2018 and are expected to be completed by August of that year, in time for the start of the 2018-19 school year.
The total cost for both schools will be $17 million.
After those projects are completed, work will begin on the demolition of Grafton Elementary School
The School District plans to finalize the consolidation of students and teachers of Grafton Elementary School before September of 2017 to ensure a smooth transition for the 2018-19 school year.
According to the district, administrators will study student population areas and consult with GO Riteway, the district’s busing provider, to determine class sizes at the two elementary schools and to allow for efficient student transportation.
With the demolition of Grafton Elementary School, one principal position will be eliminated, providing long-term cost savings to the district. With one less administrator and a decrease in overall maintenance costs for Grafton Elementary School, the district will save approximately $200,000 on a yearly basis.
Demolishing Grafton Elementary School and restoring the property for use by Grafton High School will cost $1.5 million.
At Grafton High School, construction for the career technical education spaces and a gymnasium with seating for 250 people will begin in September and will be completed in June of 2018.
Locker room renovations will start in June of 2018 and will be finished by August. New family locker rooms will also be added and the training room will be remodeled.
Construction for a new addition to the high school’s commons will begin in May of 2018 and will be completed by August.
Renovations to the science facilities, which haven’t been updated in over 45 years, will begin in June of 2018 and will be finished by August.
Renovations for the band room, office and kitchen will begin in June of 2018 and are expected to be done in August.
The total cost of construction for the high school will be $17.5 million.
Infrastructure updates to John Long Middle School will begin this June and will be completed by August.
The cost for the updates to the middle school will be $2.8 million.
All school buildings will be made more accessible to students with disabilities.
Traffic flow will be addressed at each building based on the results of a traffic study completed by Kapur and Associates.
According to the district, it will begin accepting bids from contractors in August and plan to finalize its decision on selecting a construction company in September.
The $39.9 million referendum will be financed for 20 years with $23.3 million in interest charges and a total loss of state aid of $6.6 million.
The projected tax impact will be $132 per $200,000 of property value starting in 2018.
The remaining principal from the 2000 referendum is $3.9 million, the last payment on this debt will be in 2021.
According to the district, as a result of the referendum it will save more than $70,000 in energy costs as well as staffing savings of approximately $150,000.
The district has budgeted an average of $500,000 annually for maintenance over the last five years.
The School Board has also established a new fund to budget money for long-term maintenance projects.
According to Nelson, there is currently $460,000 in the account, and by June of 2021, when the School Board is allowed to access the money, it plans to have at least $1 million to address additional facility needs in the district.
The April 4 election passed the referendum by a vote of 2,374 to 1,819 after last spring’s $47.7 million referendum and $1.8 million plan to upgrade outdoor athletic and recreation facilities failed to pass.