Opinion

Facilities update — October 2008

Promises Made … Promises Kept…

Grove Elementary opened one year early and under budget. Three hundred people were on hand for the Sept. 25 dedication of Marysville’s newest elementary school which serves 500 students.

The building features larger than normal classrooms designed to support student learning, a well-stocked school library as well as individual classroom libraries that support student literacy. The two-story building uses a design which is owned by the district and can be reused for the replacement or construction of additional elementary schools. The energy efficient design qualified for several energy grants that will help make this a cost effective building for years to come.

700 students started school in the new Marysville Secondary Campus

Located on 27th Avenue near Quil Ceda Elementary School, this campus provides improved learning opportunities to students at Arts & Technology High School, Heritage High School, and 10th Street Middle School. Most of these students now have access to science labs, PE facilities, and hot lunch for the first time. Each school is designed around large group spaces that support hands-on student learning projects. These buildings, constructed from building permit fees assessed on new homes in Marysville, were built without increasing local taxes and the modular construction kept construction cost to about .60 cents on the dollar for a cost of more traditional structures. The modular buildings have the look, feel, and quality of a stick-built building but save the district money in multiple ways. As a result, more than a dozen districts have come to see firsthand what they could do with construction in their districts.

Marysville Getchell High School is on a tight timeline

As part of the 2006 bond issue the district promised delivery of the new Marysville Getchell High School by 2011. We continue to work hard to deliver this building one year early if at all possible.

Marysville Getchell High School will house four small learning communities in separate stand alone structures. In addition, a central core building will support physical education, food services, and provide a place for students to gather. Each of the separate stand alone buildings has been designed around guiding principles based on successful secondary schools. The three-story buildings provide centralized space for student gathering, student projects, and building libraries. The award-winning design was featured in London last June as an example of how schools can support student learning.

What does it take to be on time and on budget?

The Marysville Getchell High School work is designed around a rigorous time schedule. Bids and estimates have been completed over the summer months and have enabled us to keep the project cost within the available funds.

Oct. 31 is a critical date for the completion of the site work, foundations, underground utilities and paving. Bid specifications required the contractors to have back-up workers, equipment, sub-contractors, and materials. They worked weekdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from sun up to sun down in an effort to meet this tight schedule. Foundations must be completed by the 31st in order for the construction of the buildings to continue over the winter.

Our next critical path deadline is the beginning of erection of the steel framework by the end of the calendar year. Special arrangements have been to ensure on time delivery of the steel from Canada. Fabrication plans have been checked and double-checked to ensure that the pieces will fit together when delivered to the site. Again, back-up workers, certified welders, certified fabricators, and lots of spare parts are on hand to ensure timely assembly of the parts once they arrive at the Getchell site.

Investing 2006 Bond Issue funds

Because Grove Elementary was under budget and ahead of schedule, and because Marysville Getchell continues to be under budget, there are some funds remaining from the 2006 bond issue for investing in our future.

The number one priority for those dollars will be the pre-design work for future bond projects. The number two priority is the continued purchase of land for future school sites. Because of the downturn in the economy, school building sites are available in large sizes and at prices that we did not expect to see. The resolution authorizing the 2006 bond issue created a very specific process for ensuring good stewardship of those bond dollars. Any use of bond dollars for the above purposes is dependent up doing what we said we would do:

Completing the promises made in the 2006 bond issue, providing a publicly advertised hearing and forum at a facilities committee meeting, review by the district Oversight Committee made up of construction and finance professionals, and formal approval by the board of directors.

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