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School renovations to exceed $5m
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Pictured are proposed changes to West Elementary with an estimate of $2.3 million.

Renovation projects at West and Bobby Ray schools are estimated at slightly more than $5 million.

More than half the $5 million would be spent at Bobby Ray. A new two-story addition and improved security there is estimated at $2.7 million.

At West, a single-story addition, interior renovation and improved security is estimated at $2.3 million.

Upland Design Group representative Allen Hill presented proposed plans during Thursday night’s joint meeting of Warren County School Board and the county Education Committee.
“Before we move forward, we would like to know if this is generally acceptable,” said Hill. “There are lots of fine details that need to be worked out, but we are just talking about general concepts – something in this direction.”

At West Elementary, areas of concern expressed to Upland were inadequate administrative space, lack of bathrooms, security concerns for students walking through the lobby to access the cafeteria, construction of an enclosure along the walkway so children can access the gym without leaving the building, gym renovation/ expansion, and additional classrooms.

Upland proposed rerouting lunchroom traffic through a newly constructed secure corridor, sectioning off the lobby area to improve security, dividing the existing library into two classrooms, adding onto and renovating the gym to include a new lobby, restrooms, dressing rooms and concessions area, and constructing an addition that would provide library space, three classrooms, computer lab and restrooms.

“We know that there is a limited amount of money available,” said Hill. “We have to define a scope of work that is within budget and then have one significant alternate that we may or may not be able to afford, depending on what numbers we get when the project’s bid.”
Hill suggested West’s significant alternate would be the walkway connecting to the gym, and he gave a rough estimate of $250,000.

Sticker shock was expressed for a simple corridor costing $250,000, Hill explained there will be nothing simple about the walkway, because it would require increased fire security measures that other corridors might not be required to have.

At Bobby Ray, security is the major concern due to the school having four buildings connected by walkways. Students must leave one building to enter another.

“If you’ve been there, you know the challenges in connecting the buildings,” said Hill. “With the funds available, we felt what we could do is connect Building B, Building C, and the upper level of Building A. That’s what we are talking about tonight, not connecting the entire campus, but connecting part of the campus.”

A two-story addition would be centered between Buildings B and C. The lower level would provide a new main entrance facing North Chancery Street, office spaces, and rooms for conference, guidance, and clinic.

The second floor would be a new art/ music room, science lab, and computer lab. It would connect to both adjacent buildings and a connecting walkway constructed to Building A.
Visitors would access the facility by parking in a 10-space parking area just off North Chancery Street and walk down the existing sidewalk to the entrance.

Members of both the Warren County School Board and the county Education Committee expressed approval for Upland Design Group’s proposed renovation plans at both schools.