Lawrence-based firm hired for MHS East analysis

By Bryan Richardson

Gould Evans, a Lawrence-based firm, will begin a Manhattan High East Campus facility analysis following approval by the USD 383 school board Wednesday.

The analysis will be conducted because the board removed many potential elements of the MHS East renovation from the 2008 school bond issue in order to reduce the cost of the $97.5 million package.

The analysis will include a cost-benefit evaluation for the facility’s life expectancy, and the comparison of new construction to the cost of maintaining the facility for the next 20 years.

The remaining issues include substantial amounts of asbestos remaining in the building; an antiquated HVAC with asbestos; an aging plumbing system; an electrical system designed for a pre-technology age; repairs and sealing needed to the building’s first floor and foundation; and drainage issues around the building as well as between the building and gym.

Alan Gast, a structural engineer with The Ebert-Mayo Design Group, one of the firms not chosen to conduct the study, said he was “dismayed” that the board went with an out-of-town company. He noted that board president Dave Colburn had said any of the companies that applied could do the job.

Local companies BG Architecture and Ebert Mayo also submitted proposals, as did HTK Architects, of Topeka.

BG Architecture, whose price was $40,000, and Gould Evans, whose price is $49,540, made the interview process. Gould Evans was considered the best fit for the study by the Facilities and Growth Committee.

Maintenance director Keith Noll said Gould Evans understands the nuts and bolts and the dynamics of the district.

“I’d ask the board to consider on this project and on future projects that this work is kept in town if at all possible,” Gast said. “Keep the dollars in town for our hard-working taxpayers.”

Colburn noted that Gould Evans also helped with the MHS West Campus project and helped find savings there.

The board approved refinancing $7.955 million of the $9.785 million from the series 2008A bonds of the $97.5 million bond issue. The projected savings from this action is $628,102.

The board also approved 2013 summer programs on first reading and discussed transitioning to paperless school board meetings.

In a paperless meeting, school board members would have laptops or iPads to store their agenda copies.

Helen Petrik, board clerk, said the cost of preparing and mailing agendas currently is $300 per board member or $2,100 each year.

Petrik said laptops could be used at no additional cost for board meetings because the education center already has them.

For iPads, the cost would be $450 each including AppleCare insurance for the device. iPads have an expected three- to five-year life span.

The item will be brought back for a formal vote.

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