- Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 05:00
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Four pricey options range between $7.4 & $9.6 million for renovations
An assessment report for Potomac Elementary School was presented at a joint meeting of the Board of Supervisors and School Board last Tuesday.
The price tags for the four options presented by the Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates study were higher than expected.
The presentation on Aug. 3 took about 40 minutes and left the Board of Supervisors and School Board members with little to say on the topic.
Earlier this year, County Administrator Travis Quesenberry indicated to Supervisors during a budget work session that the price tag to renovate Potomac could be upwards of $5 million.
The assessment provided four options for renovations, some with an addition, with the cheapest at $7.4 million and the most expensive putting it at $9.6 million.
The study indicated the current replacement value of the school at $12.92 million.
Potomac Elementary School, which is located in Dahlgren on a site containing 11.737 acres, contains about 35 classrooms along with resource rooms and the usual additional spaces that support instruction at an elementary school.
The School Board had previously requested that renovations be made to the 1950s section of the school building. But instead of taking a piece-meal approach, Supervisors had directed that the assessment include evaluating the building and its systems.
The study notes that most of the building is in fair-to-good condition.
It provides detailed information on the condition of the entire building, both the older sections and the newer addition, which was started in 1989 and completed in 1991. In between, there was another wing that was added in 1975.
It also provides detailed recommendations regarding changes and improvements to space utilization for the functioning of a modern elementary school.
Currently, grades K-2 are housed in the 1991 section, with 3rd and 5th grades housed in the 1970s section and 4th and 6th grades in the original 1950s section.
The student capacity is noted at 708 students.
REPLACEMENT OF HVAC, PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS
A big driver for renovation costs is due to a recommendation to completely replace the heating-air condition-and ventilation (HVAC) systems, the plumbing system and fixtures and the electrical systems. Those costs are estimated at $4,169,340 for three of the four options and somewhat less for Option #4.
ADA COMPLIANCE UPGRADES
Another costly item is to bring the school into compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
The federal law requires accessibility compliance to older public buildings whenever major renovations take place. In the meantime, the rule of “reasonable accommodation” applies.
The section in the assessment report on upgrades to provide ADA compliance is detailed and extensive.
SAFETY AND BUILDING CODE
Other costs in each of the four options include improvements to the site including such things as new fencing, evaluating and/or replacing playground equipment and mulch with synthetic rubberized material, signage installation, new security lighting, and possible addition of a sprinkler system, and the potential for building code upgrades.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM NEEDS
Suggestions for building renovations to address better accommodating the elementary education program are wide-ranging and very numerous.
A very few examples include such things as relocating and/or reconfiguring the main office area, adding storage space and providing new furniture.
Several recommendations include reconfiguring existing spaces for better efficiency.
One suggestion is to demolish the 1975 section and another is to add more classrooms.
18-MONTH RENOVATION TIMETABLE WITH TRAILERS NEEDED
Crabtree’s Hal Hart noted that the building would take about 18-months to renovate, whichever option is selected.
He suggested that the best time to start renovations would be the spring, span two summers, and be completed at the end of the second summer for that fall’s school start up.
Hart said modular classrooms (trailers) would be needed during the renovation time frame, with students moved out of about an 8-classroom section at a time during the rolling renovation phasing.
All options include various site improvements, building code and accessibility modifications and upgrades to the mechanical, plumbing and electrical building systems.
OPTION 1 - Estimated at $7,657,150. This option would include renovations to the building in its present configuration. Renovations would be made to the main office entrance to provide additional doors to the exterior of the school, along with some changes to the 1950s section.
OPTION 2 – Estimated at $9,646,672. This option would include an addition of six new classrooms tacked onto four separate locations around the building to increase the size by 8,250 square feet. It would provide interior doors on the corridors adjacent to the main office entrance and in some other locations of the school. Interior renovations to the 1950s section would result in increasing the size of the art room and also creating a larger computer lab in that section of the building.
OPTION 3 - Estimated at $9,646,672, the same cost as Option 2. This option would increase the size of the building by 8,250 square feet to include an addition of five new classrooms tacked onto three separate locations around the building and would build a new main office area at the entrance near the existing music room.
As with Options 1 & 2, it would also provide interior doors on the corridors adjacent to the existing main office entrance and in some other locations of the school.
Likewise, the interior renovations to the 1950s section would result in increasing the size of the art room and also creating a larger computer lab in that section of the building, along with additional room reconfiguration in that section.
OPTION 4 – Estimated at $7,358,245, this is the cheapest option. It is the least expensive because it recommends demolishing the 1970s section of the school.
The section recommended for demolishing contains 12,000 square feet, which includes four 5th grade classrooms, three 3rd grade classrooms, a math lab, the art room, student bathrooms, and a conference room and three administrative offices, along with a faculty bathroom.
It would be replaced with an outdoor patio area.
Tearing down that section, which the study calls “awkward,” shaves off the cost of a full replacement of the major building systems, because there are fewer square feet remaining.
This option would also include an addition to the building of a new art room and math lab, totaling 3,500 square feet.
The funding available at this point is $220,000 earmarked to go toward the next phase of the project, which would be engineering and design work for whichever option is selected, that might not be enough to cover that cost.
Prior to going forward with engineering and design, an option must be selected and a source of funding must be secured and identified for the future renovations and/or construction to be enabled to go forward.
The complete study of more than 100 pages is available for viewing in the County Administrator’s office in the Revercomb Building.
Click here to view the slide presentation provided to the Board of Supervisors and the School Board.