While the Brainerd School District is on track with Phase 2 of its building projects timewise, the budget is another issue.
The school board reviewed preliminary designs for updates to Garfield, Lowell and Riverside elementary schools Monday, Aug. 12, and learned two of the projects are tracking over budget according to estimates.
Though the projects have not been bid yet, estimates show Garfield is about $154,000 over budget, while Lowell is tracking $550,000 over. Riverside is on budget right now.
Building additions at Garfield will create space for a full-sized kitchen, administrative suite and more classrooms, making the school a three-section elementary.
Two first grade classrooms would be added, along with an addition by the kindergarten area to make the three rooms comparable in size, as they’re all very different right now.
The new administration suite at the front of the building would include the school’s secure entrance, a nurse’s office and a teacher workspace.
Two small additions in the existing courtyard would add two special education rooms.
Other updates include a larger cafeteria and restructured flexible learning, art, science and technology spaces situated around the media center, along with a 29-spot parking lot created from acquired homes.
Proposed new lockers play into the over budget estimate right now. Sara Kelzenberg, of Wold Architects, said new lockers weren’t in the initial plan but because the flooring by the lockers needs to be replaced, designers figured it would be a good time to upgrade the lockers as well. Right now, the lockers at Garfield go all the way down to the floor, while smaller ones would allow for shoe and boot storage underneath.
The lockers do not have to be part of the project though, and could be considered as an alternate to be added if bids are favorable.
The original budget for construction was just under $7.36 million, with the project now estimated at just over $7.5 million.
A two-story classroom addition at Lowell Elementary will add two kindergarten and two fourth grade rooms, allowing the school to house three sections of kindergarten and four sections of first through fourth grades.
The addition wrapping around the east and south sides of the building will also include a new gym, storage spaces, lockers and an administrative suite, which will include a secure entrance, reception area staff workroom, conference rooms and office spaces.
The new gym is planned to be the same size as the school’s current multipurpose gym space but could be upgraded to full-size gym as an alternate, depending on bids.
Much of the rest of the school will see heavy remodels, including Spanish and special education spaces, the kitchen and first, second and third grade classrooms, along with learning commons areas in the middle of each grade level’s classroom pod.
With the project at an estimated $550,000 over the $9.19 million construction budget right now, project managers are crossing their fingers for favorable bids. If bids come in especially high, though, the plans can be revised with smaller projects potentially taken out to lower the cost.
The Riverside Elementary project is tracking about $112,000 under its $9.87 million construction budget.
While much of the five-section elementary building will remain as is, an addition on the east side will house a new multipurpose gym; staff lounge; art, science and technology space; and a cafeteria receiving area.
Kindergarten and special education rooms will be remodeled, along with the kitchen, commons area and reception/entrance area, which already has a secure entrance.
A new playground and basketball court will be built outside, as the new gym addition will take up the space of the existing playground.
Because of the low projected costs, Adam Barnett, of JLG Architects, said some alternates could be added into the project, including new cabinets in the kindergarten rooms and other smaller things noted by teachers and staff members during oversight meetings.
All three projects will come before the school board for final design development approval Aug. 26 and are scheduled to go out for bids in November.
Work is scheduled to be done by the fall of 2020.
Preliminary draft designs for the schools are available at www.blueprint181.org.