One year into a planned five-year process, several projects as part of the Manhattan-Ogden school district’s $129.5 million bond initiative are either starting up or will soon be, and a couple are already near finished.
After voters passed the bond issue in November 2018, every school will see some sort of renovation or expansion, and one project is an entirely new elementary school in Pottawatomie County. Other marquee projects include multimillion expansions at Manhattan High’s west campus, Anthony and Eisenhower middle schools and the early learning centers.
Trisha Brooke-Fruendt, the district owners representative throughout the bond construction process, said most projects are either on track or ahead of schedule, even with a few weather delays this summer. While school might be postponed until after Labor Day, planned summer work will still be completed by the original school start date of Aug. 12.
Cumulatively, approved projects so far have come in around $2 million underneath bond campaign projections, she estimated.
“We’re being good stewards of (the taxpayers’) dollars,” she said. “I come with a facilities background, and I know what it’s like to build something that’s going to be maintainable and be there for 20 years. We’re making sure the taxpayer’s dollars are going the distance, and we try not to design to the dollar. We try to design under the dollar so we can get what we said we would in the bond. If we get a little extra, then that’s a bonus not only for our teachers and staff but also for the students.”
Amanda Arnold (complete)
Workers in 2019 finished the $226,000 bond project at Amanda Arnold elementary school, which looked to improve several site drainage issues, expand the parking lot and remove the school’s decrepit greenhouse.
Keith Noll Maintenance Center
Originally planning to do work later during the bond’s five year process, district administrators moved the Keith Noll Maintenance Center $960,000 bond project up to this past year.
Brooke-Fruendt said the project essentially created a new building at the site in the Northview neighborhood, and the district used approximately $1.2 million in non-bond, capital outlay money to also add a roof to the building, which will be installed in the coming weeks.
Workers are putting the final touches on the building, which will receive furniture in the coming weeks and open for occupancy in August.
Anthony and Eisenhower middle schools
Most of the planned work this summer is done at the two middle school sites, which will see new wings added to accommodate the eventual relocation of sixth grade to the middle schools, as well as new storm shelters and city-funded public recreation centers. The school’s collective costs on the project, which will still run through next summer, is $17 million for each building.
Both schools will see their office and media/library spaces flipped, and office staff and school administrators will be better grouped, with plans for 40-foot office counters at teach school.
“I think people are going to find that it’s easier to get around,” Brooke-Fruendt said.
Lee’s $945,000 in construction work is being split into two phases, with the first phase adding a new parking lot and bus lane to help alleviate bus traffic concerns.
School staff will lose some parking spaces this summer, but those spaces will be added back and then some next summer when workers tear down two annex buildings and replace them with a new staff parking lot.
Bergman’s $3.5 million in work is split into two phases as well, with the first phase also consisting of parking lot renovations. Workers will slowly replace sections of the parking lot over the coming months, and the district will bid out the second phase of the project — which includes moving administrators to a new section of the school, adding a secured entryway, and relocating some special education classrooms — in September.
The district will bid out an estimated $2.3 million in project work for Marlatt in late fall, Brooke-Fruendt said. That project will renovate several classrooms along the school’s main corridor, make several kitchen improvements, and add a larger parking lot.
Brooke-Fruendt said the parking lot work, which is tentatively set to start in June, will also realign school traffic patterns, which she called “a nightmare” at the moment in picking up and dropping off students every morning and afternoon.
Fencing on the west side of the building is going up, and utilities will be marked off ahead of planned construction later this year on the $26.8 million in work at the building.
The high school project will add several improvements and additions, most notably an expansion of the school’s east side wings to add 25 classrooms to accommodate the planned relocation of the ninth grade to the building.
Workers will also begin demolishing the school’s fitness and wrestling building, as the planned construction will add a new center onto the main building for those purposes, as well as a new gym and storm shelter. On the west edge of the property, the district will add new tennis courts, upgrade the practice field to synthetic turf and create a road around the entire building.
Parking will be at a premium, not so much in the fall yet, but mostly starting in the spring, Brooke-Fruendt said. While the project will eventually be a net-gain in parking, construction work will remove a lot of the school’s current parking spots.
Some interior work and renovation will take place during the school year, but much of it will also be spread out over the planned next two years of construction at the building.
Oliver Brown Elementary
Foundational work at the new, $17.6 million school in Pottawatomie County is nearly complete, after which other construction work will heavily pick up, Brooke-Fruendt said.
The school, named after the namesake plaintiff of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case, is expected to hold nearly 500 students and should open in time for the 2021-22 school year.
College Hill and Eugene Field early learning centers
Workers are wrapping up at the College Hill Early Learning Center, Brooke-Fruendt said. The $7.3 million project is expected to be done in November, and after the school relocates to the building from its temporary location, $8.4 milllion in work will start on its sister school Eugene Field.
The College Hill project is expanding the center to include 11 classrooms, adding an age-appropriate playground as well as consolidating early learning administrative offices to one building.
Brooke-Fruendt said the district is still parsing out final design schematics for Eugene Field, but that project is still on track to start on-the-ground work late this year and finish by November 2021.
New warehouse, central kitchen
In January, the school board approved a $1.1 million purchase of the Bailey Moving and Storage company’s former facility at 810 Levee Drive to serve as the district’s new warehouse. Initial plans had been to build a $1.9 million facility at Manhattan High’s east campus property, but district staff felt better about the better situated, industrial location and existing building at Levee Drive.
Brooke-Fruendt said the district will need to do some renovation work, particularly to prepare the building for any storage items that might need climate-controlled space.
The district will also likely construct a new central kitchen, which had been planned for east campus as well, at the property. However, that project has not yet gone through the school board for approval.