Additional school upgrades discussed

Published 11:43 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Charlotte County School Board recently discussed an update regarding PPEA construction projects at two elementary schools in the county, Bacon District and Phenix, at a special called meeting Nov. 7.

During the meeting, Phillip Jamerson, Jamerson-Lewis Construction, said the initial challenge was to add 20 years to the life expectancy of the two elementary schools.

“We came up with a list of things that needed to be done …” he said.

Jamerson said some of the items included mechanical, electrical, structural and exterior work.

He said there were also other items that could help with student safety, including the addition of bus canopies.

“We put together a pre-comprehensive list working with the school staff and the principals …” Jamerson said.

He said this was the start of the process.

“ … We haven’t really vetted all the numbers, we haven’t vetted all the design ideas … there’s still a lot of things that we can do but when we get to the budget, I’m pretty confident in a number that can take the buildings out 20 years,” said Jamerson.

Previously in June, PPEA proposal plans included a fixed price identified at $3.2 million to include the addition of a 6,000 square foot multipurpose facility at both Bacon District and Phenix Schools and the addition of eight classrooms at phenix, which would replace mobile classroom units.

Leonard said previously the focus was on security and accessibility, at which the entire team met at the two schools to do a walk through.

“The scope of parameters of what we were looking for was what we could do to improve accessibility and security of our schools that would go beyond the $3.2 million but reach a $6 million cap,” she said at that time.

Of the identified upgrades, above the $3.2 million scope, Leonard previously said Bacon District could use additional heating, handicap accessible restrooms and fencing in addition to upgrades in the main office, including moving it to the front and adding a security wall.

She discussed a security wall for both Phenix and Bacon District.

At Phenix, above the $3.2 million scope, Leonard previously said upgrades could include additional faculty parking, separating parent drop off from the bus drop off, additional sight lighting, renovating the administration area and updated circuitry.

Both schools could see kitchen area upgrades, painting, the addition of stage ramps and bus canopies.

Leonard said identifying the needs of the schools and a cost to extend the life span of the schools for 20 years was done at the request of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors.

“We talked about in the building committee that the focus of these renovations were to add to the security, the safety, the health and the accessibility for the public and the students,” said Leonard.

She said the base $3.2 million will cover those basics and moving forward, the same theme will be continued without fluff.

Jamerson said the mechanical and electrical issues would also be included. “The building’s are antiquated in that respect … you’re just living on borrowed time …” he said.

Jamerson said at Bacon District, a handicap ramp is proposed for the front of the building to encompass accessibility.

He said other proposed improvements include a new office/administration area, a new teachers workroom space, a security wall, adding new hoods in the kitchens, a new cooler/freezer, adding handicap accessible bathrooms and a secured courtyard connecting a new multipurpose building among other items.

“You’ve got plenty of space in Bacon (District) to do whatever you want to do,” Jamerson said. “It’s opposite over at Phenix.

Mobile classrooms would be eliminated in phase one work at Phenix Elementary, according to Jamerson.

A classroom wing and multipurpose room is set to be added, in addition to a proposed security wall.

Jamerson said some of the rooms would be changed around in the school. A handicap bathroom would also be added to the existing teachers workroom and a fully covered bus canopy among other items.

“What we don’t have is storage space at Phenix …” he said.

He said there were challenges with the space at Phenix.

“What we’ve tried to do is put a number on every item,” Jamerson said referring to a comprehensive list of all proposed additional renovations.

He said at some point, those items needed to be prioritized based on how much could be funded, if any.

“ … I would think that your mechanical and electrical would be as big (of) a priority as anything you’ve got … those are the things Mr. (Larry) Roller is keeping together with rubber bands and duct tape …” said Jamerson.

He said then handicap and security would follow.

The proposed additional renovations could cost upward $6.5 million, according to Jamerson.

“This is not an offer …” he said. “All these numbers are subject to come down, or subject to go up really.”

Leonard said the cost estimate will provide a ballpark figure as a beginning step above the base scope of the original $3.2 million project to achieve a 20 year life expectancy on the buildings.

“This is at the request of the Board of Supervisors and this is the starting point,” she said.