School Board advocates for renovation
Published 11:28 am Wednesday, January 9, 2019
PPEA construction at Bacon District and Phenix Elementary Schools is currently underway, according to a press release from the Charlotte County Public Schools System.
The release said, the “$3.2 Million in new construction is in progress at Bacon District and Phenix Elementary Schools. Construction progress is visibly evident at both school sites as the first phase of renovations are being completed.”
According to the release, Bacon District Elementary is slated to receive a new standalone gymnasium with handicap restrooms, a storage closet and an office space.
The release said each of these items are currently under construction for the school.
“In the next few weeks the community will see the gymnasium take shape as the structural steel and door frames are being constructed in January,” said the release.
The release said Phenix Elementary is also currently making construction prograss with the foundation of an eight classroom addition already completed.
In addition to eight classrooms, the addition will also include handicap accessible students restrooms within the classrooms.
“This addition will allow students to have bricks-and-mortar classrooms and allow the removal of the mobile units behind Phenix Elementary,” said the release.
The release also said more progress is expected over the course of the next three weeks including “the installation of the electrical and plumbing that will be under the Phenix classroom addition’s concrete floor slab. After the completion of the 8-classroom addition at Phenix, the mobile units behind Phenix will be removed and construction will begin on the gymnasium. The gymnasium constructed at Phenix will be identical to the elementary school sized gymnasium currently being constructed at Bacon District. At the end of Phase 1 all students at Bacon District and Phenix will have bricks-and-mortar classrooms and each school will have a gymnasium.”
These two projects at the elementary schools are the first phase of improvements that have currently been scheduled for the schools.
According to the release, “the current addition of the gymnasiums at Bacon District and Phenix and the 8-classroom addition at Phenix, do not address all of the needed improvements to both schools. Both Bacon District and Phenix Elementary Schools were constructed in the 1950s and both schools need updated electrical, heating, cooling, plumbing, modern security enhancements, and handicap accessibility. To date, Eureka has received $3.1 Million in funding for a new HVAC system, roofing, and skylight replacement.”
A recently completed renovation project at Eureka Elementary School has provided an additional life expectancy of more than 20 years.
“The $3.2 Million that is currently being spent on gymnasium additions at Bacon District and Phenix and an 8-classroom addition at Phenix allow for the removal of the mobile units and provide for a physical activity space to meet activity requirements,” said the release. “The gymnasium construction provides for handicap accessible restrooms in that part of the school for both Bacon District and Phenix, which is an improvement. However, these improvements do not address the aged heating, cooling, and mechanical systems or the roofing and plumbing issues present at Bacon District and Phenix.”
According to the release, “the upgrades to Bacon and Phenix both contain new security features, including a security wall at the main entrance of both schools, which would prevent access by visitors to the students in the classrooms until the visitors are screened and granted access by office staff. The requested improvements in Tier 2 also include handicap accessible restrooms for students and adults, installation of external and internal ramps at Bacon District, and moving and/or rearranging of the main offices of both schools to improve visibility and increased security for the students.”
The release said a 2015 facilities study conducted by Dewberry Architects placed the cost estimate for elementary school renovations at all three community elementary schools at $26,508,078 during that time.
However, under the recent PPEA project and the work by the current School Board, all three-community schools could be renovations for $12.8 million.
“That total cost is calculated by combining the costs of the completed renovation project at Eureka which was $3.1 Million, the cost of current construction at Bacon District and Phenix which is costing $3.2 Million and completing the renovation of the second phase of improvements at Bacon District and Phenix for $6,477,053, which would bring Bacon and Phenix up to a minimum of a twenty-year life expectancy,” said the release.
A joint meeting with the Board of Supervisors is currently in the works for this month to discuss the final phase of the renovations.
The release said “If funding for the second tier of renovations for Bacon District and Phenix Elementary Schools is approved by the Board of Supervisors, Bacon District and Phenix Elementary Schools will, like Eureka, have a life expectancy of more than 20 years and will provide equity in school facilities among the three community elementary schools in Charlotte County.”