New $4.4 million design approved for high school gym
The Morgan County School Board approved a new west entry design for the Berkeley Springs High School Building C (gymnasium building) NEEDS project that is estimated at $4,338,175. The action came at their December 4 meeting.
Williamson Shriver Architects presented the additional West Entrance Option B (Option 4) at the meeting. The firm shared designs and estimates for the original project, a north entry option and the first west entry option at the November 5 school board meeting. (Options 1-3)
The new West Entrance Option B project design option’s cost estimate is around $1.23 million less than the $5,571,225 first west entrance option that was proposed.
Leaving out the weight room addition lowered the cost estimate of the original west entry design by $950,000. Some site demolition and site development costs also decreased.
The estimated project cost as originally submitted to the West Virginia School Building Authority was $4,081,059.
The weight room would remain in place upstairs, said Architect Greg Williamson. There was discussion about where the training room and additional storage would now be located.
Storage an issue
High school Principal Lance Fox expressed concern about storage space. The possibility of combining the space from an old ticket room and a custodial closet for storage was considered.
Board member John Rowland said they didn’t have enough storage room in the building now. Coaches were taking off-season uniforms home with them. He said he’d be more comfortable if there was space to store them on campus.
Rowland felt the existing storage space could be better used to make it more compact and organized. School Treasurer Nancy White said they’d look into ways to roll up the wrestling mats instead of having them lay flat on the floor in storage.
School board member Eric Kidwell asked about the possibility of additional storage space upstairs, but there was none.
The current athletic director’s room and the rear of the gymnasium were mentioned as possible storage areas, but they had water leakage or dampness issues. Those could possibly be addressed during construction, Williamson said. The athletic director’s office would move up front for better access.
Close asked if there was any asbestos left in the building. He was concerned about hazardous material management becoming an additional expense during construction. All asbestos was believed to have been abated.
Williamson said that if asbestos or lead paint was found during the renovations, a third party would have to be hired to do the remediation.
Superintendent David Banks asked if there could be additional access from the gymnasium to the corridor. Another entrance door could be worked into the design without losing any bleacher seats.
The design and engineering and documentation process would take three to four months, Williamson said. School Building Authority review was required before the project could go to bid, which would be in early April.
Construction would start in early May. Depending on whether it was a phased project, it could take as little as 14 months, White said. It would take a great deal of logistical planning, which high school administration had already begun.
Board member Pat Springer asked about the noise and disruption during construction for students and whether regular activities in the building could go on. Assistant Superintendent Joan Willard said during previous Widmyer Elementary renovations that contractors worked with them to have the least amount of disruption.
Williamson said there would be some disruption during the construction. They may have to move some students for a few weeks since they can’t do all of the ceiling work over the summer. They may need three lunch shifts to accommodate the renovations, Fox said.
The locker room renovations would take around four months. Kidwell said April through July after basketball season was the best time for that construction. Fox said if it went into the fall, they could possibly move volleyball to the middle school. They were having all of these discussions now, Fox said.
The school board received $2.2 million from the School Building Authority for the original project. It includes interior and exterior renovations such as new gymnasium flooring, ceilings, doors, locker rooms, lighting, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, bleachers, fire alarm and telephone system upgrades, painting and making the building handicapped accessible.
An $824,000 Qualified Zone Allocation Bond (QZAB) no-interest loan will go toward the $2 million local match for the project. Other local funding included a lease purchase arrangement where the collateral would be the entire project, White said. Around $260,000 in their capital project fund could also be used.
A possible bond issue was no longer being considered for funding the local match, White said previously. The special levy rate will be considered at a March budget workshop.