Oakwood schools making progress on $18M buildings plan

Oakwood Schools officials are making progress on the District’s Master Facilities Plan, working on the project development and design portion and getting the finances in order.

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Oakwood’s two-part combination school levy passed in May, raising $18 million for renovations to the district’s 90-year-old schools, as well as to pay for day-to-day operating costs.

The bond issue addresses “foundational infrastructure repairs,” and is named Phase 1 of a possible four-phase development.

The first phase includes work on plumbing, electric, HVAC, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and security upgrades at the junior high and high school as well as other work at Smith and Harman elementary schools.

The district recently issued the bonds that will generate $18 million to pay for Phase 1. The bonds were issued at an average interest rate of 3.25 percent school, officials told this news organization.

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The Development Design, created by Heapy Engineering, is due to the district Nov. 1. That information will allow members of the district’s core team to prioritize the work, aligning it with the budget.

The Oakwood Schools Board of Education approved a contract with Danis Construction at its October meeting, naming the company the construction manager at risk, CMR, for phase 1 according to Operations Coordinator Todd Scott.

Scott was hired by the district in May and charged with coordinating district-wide non-instructional systems and procedures, including facilities, grounds, maintenance, transportation, safety and cafeterias.

“We have a great team of professionals who are working hard to assure we are going to have a great project. Our community has and is being very supportive of this plan,” Scott said. “These upgrades will provide a better learning environment, as well as preserve the traditions of Oakwood Schools. Our schools are something community members can continue to take pride in for years to come.”

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The project’s final design is expected to be completed by mid-January, allowing project officials to create the schedule from that blueprint.

Initial work in Oakwood Junior High and Oakwood High School will begin this December during the district’s holiday break.

Additional demolition will take place during winter break in February and spring break at the end of March when students and staff are not in the buildings.

“During the initial work, the public may have limited access to certain parts of Oakwood High School and Oakwood Junior High,” Scott said. “Being able to begin some of the demolition while students and staff are out of the building during breaks will allow us to begin the physical construction June 1, 2020.”

In March, a public meeting was held at which seven school facility options were presented to those in attendance ranging from a comprehensive renovation of all existing facilities at $48 million to $102 million for those renovations plus a new high school and early learning center building.

“The community’s desire to keep its beautiful and iconic buildings was heard loud and clear, and that feedback was used to develop the plan,” Traci Hale, community relations director for the district, said, after the feedback was submitted.

The accepted phase 1 plan “prioritizes renovation first, while encouraging community input and feedback as the four phases are implemented,” said Oakwood Superintendent Kyle Ramey.

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