Work on the Knox Community School Corporation’s $20 million building project is expected to start in the next few months.
Project Manager Brian Larson with Larson-Danielson Construction went over the timeline and the bidding process with the school board last week. “We’re almost to construction,” he said. “We’re almost there. The design’s nearly complete. We’re about to go out to bids.”
He said that bidding for the early site work will be first, so the contractor can start mobilizing by April. The remaining bid packages, such as concrete, steel, and masonry, should be awarded by May. Work will start west of the elementary school with the new bus loop and stormwater basin.
Larson said construction will pick up significantly once school gets out for the summer. “With any school construction, we do a lot of it in the summer, and there are pretty good reasons for that,” he explained. “Number one is safety. We don’t want to be working around as many kids, and secondly, you want things done before next school year. We understand that. That’s what makes this project a little difficult.”
This summer, work is expected to start on the new secure vestibules at all three schools, as well as the renovation of the second floor of the high school. New driveways will be built east of the middle school and south of the high school. The goal is to have those done before students return to class in August.
That’s when work will get underway on the elementary and high school additions. Work on the second floor of the high school will also continue into the school year, with work being done in phases to minimize disruption to classes.
The demolition of the elementary school’s Palmer Wing and the renovation of the administrative office are scheduled for the summer of 2021, along with additional paving and site work. The new building additions should be ready for the start of class in August of 2021, and the final parts of the project will wrap up by the end of next year.
Larson explained that the company will be able to use a prequalification process to streamline bidding, “Where now we can ask for their experience paperwork, their equipment and personnel available, their financial status. We can also check references, how they’re doing on safety. Everybody wants safety. We’re working around kids. Are they training their employees appropriately? Do they meet the state laws for drug testing? Do they have that program in place? Do they have bonding capacity if their package is large enough?”
To go along with that, the school corporation will use a responsible bidding practices policy. School Board Attorney Bill Kaminski said he’d write up a policy for the board’s approval next week.
Larson-Danielson’s current estimate puts the total cost of the project at $20,066,608, including over $1.4 million for contingencies.