Overall safety and timely completion of initial roadwork at Mancos School District RE-6 construction project highlighted a public presentation during the school board meeting Thursday.
Three members of the construction project – owner’s representative Monty Guiles, architect Max McCloskey and project superintendent Neil Dolder – gave the presentation and held a Q&A session in which they outlined the project’s progress and explained the construction phases.
The project, which began in late May, is still in the first of three main phases, but Guiles said everything was going pretty much as scheduled.
Phase 1 involves most of the school grounds, including almost everything north of the Mancos River. Construction has not yet reached the football field and Performance Center, which will be tackled in later phases.
Projects in the first phase include creating a bus loop at the front of campus, building a parking lot on Beech Street, updating the parking lot on Walnut Street and remodeling the high school administration offices.
“We’ve got concrete poured at the new parking lot. We’ll have asphalt before school starts,” Dolder said. “We’ve got concrete placed on Walnut Street, we will have asphalt before the kids come back, and then we’ve got concrete placed at the bus loop. We’ll have it ready as well before school starts.”
Completion of the bus loop and improvement of the surrounding streets is an important first step of the project, Guiles said.
A majority of the funding for construction – $19.7 million out of the projected $25 million – comes from the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant, which was awarded to the Mancos School District primarily to address safety issues.
A bus loop and improved pickup and drop-off zones certainly do that by keeping children off the streets, Guiles said. He emphasized that safety is the utmost priority during and after construction, and he said many plans are in place to make sure the campus is safe during construction.
Construction will continue during the school year and is projected to be completed by summer 2020, Dolder said. However, several deadlines are still in place.
The phases are:
Phase 1: Build a bus loop on Grand Avenue and a parking lot on Beech, and update the parking lot on Walnut before school starts Aug. 13. Remodel the high school administration building to add offices and complete other electrical and fire safety work.Phase 2: Begin additions to the main gym and the elementary school and remodel the multipurpose building after school starts, and complete the work in April 2019.Phase 2A: Build an asphalt track and a turf practice field behind the school at the end of football season and complete the work in time for track season in spring.Phase 3: Remodel the Performance Center and middle school after Phase 2 and complete the work in the 2019-2020 school year.Because construction will continue year-round, the campus will be a work in progress for a few years and may not be the most aesthetically pleasing until new trees are planted and landscaping is done. However, Guiles said, it will all be worth it.
“We are going to have beautiful facilities,” Guiles told the board and audience members.
In addition to the school construction update, the board approved the past month’s bills, including a resolution to purchase several new laptops for the staff, and continued discussion about the future of the spruce tree that was removed to make room for the bus loop.
Local artist David Mallan gave new details about his idea to use the tree to create a totem pole that celebrates the region’s history. However, a permanent location for the log is uncertain, and plans for its design and future remain incomplete.