Islands' Sounder


School’s campus overhaul to start

Islands Sounder Publisher, Editor
February 19, 2014 · Updated 11:39 AM

Orcas School’s campus renovation is ready for lift off and it’s been many years in the making.

“Two years ago the community passed the capital construction bond,” said School Board Chairman Scott Lancaster. “I am looking forward to the start of a project which will not only improve our facilities district wide, but will enhance our students’ education.”

After two bond rejections, voters eventually approved a scaled down, $11.9 million version.  Voters also approved a two-year general technology capital projects levy that will pay for modernizing the school’s technology facilities.

The design and permitting for the bond project has been finalized and this summer will mark phase one of the construction plan. The project will be entirely done by September 2015.

“Any time you work on an occupied campus, there is a lot of planning that goes into it,” said Project Manager Liz LeRoy of Alliance Construction Management in Seattle. “And it’s really a partnership with the contractor.”

The $7.5 million construction component of the project is currently being advertised for bids from general contractors, who can be from any city as long as they are licensed in Washington state. Legally, the district has to go with the “lowest, most responsible” bidder. The due date is Feb. 26.

“We’ve made good outreach with local contractors, so we really hope they participate in the bidding process,” LeRoy said. “In addition, the district has encouraged and supported the general contractors to engage island contractors for any subcontracting work. On-island partnerships as well as partnerships with the community including San Juan County, Eastsound Water Users Association and many others have made this project possible.”

The architectural firm Mahlum has designed plans that keep the existing foundation and calls for extensive remodel work in the elementary school, library and cafeteria. In addition, a satellite building will be constructed for career tech education. That site will also be used to house students during the school year when construction is taking place.

The first stage starts this April and will be completed by September 2014. The elementary building will be remodeled to create room for the new middle school.

The second phase will begin this June and completed by February 2015. It is the most ambitious portion of the project – create new facility for music and CTE (wood shop, art, applied physics, technology lab, culinary arts) and new library spaces.

“Phase two will have the most impact to our campus,” LeRoy said. “The music room addition as well as CTE will be out of the way, but there will be some contractors in the heart of the campus. Our architects have been working hard to keep the really disruptive work over the summer and breaks.”

The third stage is a renovation of the library to create spaces for OASIS kindergarten through 12th and district staff.

It will begin in February 2015 and be completed by September 2015.

The fourth phase involves demolishing the current music room, remodeling the cafeteria, creating a new kitchen and completing  landscape and site work. That will start in June 2015 and will be completed by September 2015.

“This a substantial project for the community that needs to support our staff and our kids and the programs,” LeRoy said. “Access to fields and a smooth pick up and drop off for families are essential during construction ... access to classrooms and safe passage of students and staff across campus has been carefully considered for each phase.”

The school cafeteria and library will remain open while students are in classes.

LeRoy encourages feedback from the community at lleroy@orcas.k12.wa.us. Visit the school website for information and updates at http://goo.gl/zDctl0.


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