2017-10-12 / Front Page

Leland plans to renovate; expand?

Options cost up to $23 million
By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

ATTENDANCE WAS sparse Monday for the first of two meetings set to share information on proposals to address facilities needs at Leland Public School. A second meeting is set for 5:30 p.m., Nov. 13, in the old gym at the school. ATTENDANCE WAS sparse Monday for the first of two meetings set to share information on proposals to address facilities needs at Leland Public School. A second meeting is set for 5:30 p.m., Nov. 13, in the old gym at the school. A new gym and a two-story elementary wing were included in three possible construction project unveiled by the Leland Board of Education during a special informational meeting Monday.

About 20 people attended the session Monday to hear about needs facing the district and a possible bond request in May to address these needs.

Superintendent Jason Stowe, facilities committee members Bill Robinson and Ross Satterwhite, and representatives of TowerPinkster Architects/ Engineers and Miller-Davis Construction presented three plans with price tags ranging from $15 million to $23 million.

“We manage the big picture,” Robinson said. “And about every 20 years there’s an in-depth conversation about facilities.”

The last construction bond approved by voters in 2001 paid for the addition of 30,000 square feet on new high school and middle school space, a performing arts center (PAC) and renovations of 30,000 square feet of existing roof, lighting and electrical service.

However, little was done to other parts of the school complex, some of which date back to the 1930s and 1950s. It’s the oldest portion of the building, the elementary wing on the south end of the K-12 complex, that is the biggest area of concern.

“The elementary end of the school is coming to the end of its useful life,” Robinson said.

Other needs identified by the facilities committee were for a dedicated testing area, a secure entrance and additional gym space.

Three proposals were presented:

 The first, a “minimum approach,” would replace the oldest classrooms built in the 1930s; renovate the 1950s wing that now houses the lower elementary classes and replace the older gym on the south end of the school with a gym of similar size. The reconstructed gym would not be large enough to host sanctioned athletic events. That alternative came with an estimated cost of $15 million.

The second and third options identified, as concepts B and C, would take a more comprehensive approach to address facilities needs — and would also be more expensive.

Concept B, with an estimated cost of $21.5 million, calls for the addition of 59,900 square feet and includes a new, 17,000 square-foot gym, which would be regulation size. It would be built east of the existing performing arts center. Also constructed would be a new two-story elementary wing with a large gathering space for “collaborative learning,” a second-floor addition to the middle school, and a 900 square-foot addition to the high school. The concept would also provide an additional 27 parking spaces on the east side of the school complex.

Concept C, the most expensive proposal, has an estimated cost of $23 million.

It calls for an additional 57,700 square-feet of construction and includes a new gym of similar size to replace the 1950s gym on the south end of the complex. A two-story elementary wing would be constructed on the east side of the performing art center. Space for set construction adjacent the PAC is also identified in the plans.

Dedicated space for testing is included in all three proposals.

The district continues to levy a 1.41 mill property tax for payments toward the 2001 bond, which will be fully repaid in 2021.

No additional millage would be needed to pay for Option A.

Less than one additional mill per year would be needed to fund the two other alternatives, business manager Sandy Thomas said.

School officials will host a second community information session at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 13.

The facilities committee is scheduled to bring its recommendation to the board at the trustees’ December meeting.

Board action would be needed in January to place the bond proposal before voters in May 2018.

If the bond is approved, construction would start in May 2019.

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