PBL school board hears update on construction projects

By ROSS BROWN
bluehavanaross@gmail.com


PAXTON — Members of the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school board heard an update on the Clara Peterson Elementary School renovation and expansion project and the PBL High School renovation project during their monthly meeting last Wednesday night.

Chuck Reifsteck, president of Champaign-based Reifsteck and Reid Architects, said  he was working with Brian Mrozak of Chicago-based Gilbane Inc. to interest contractors in the project.

Mrozek said 73 firms had expressed interest in the project, which calls for the construction of an addition to the east side of Clara Peterson Elementary School to house students in third through fifth grades; and replacing PBL Eastlawn School, which is expected to be demolished. Minor repairs, including a new heating and cooling system, are scheduled to be done to PBL High School in the next two years, as well.

“We’re making phone calls to not only find more bidders but to double-check to make sure that contractors are planning on bidding,” Mrozek said. “It’s not unusual for a couple contractors to drop out through the process, but we want to know who those contractors are up-front.”

Reifsteck said a walk-through was held at PBL High School on Martin Luther King Day, when the building was empty. Mrozek said six contractors came and did an inspection of the building.

“The vast majority were mechanical contractors, which is what we expected since they’re the ones who will need to crawl through a crawlspace and get to the ceiling,” Reifsteck said. “There was a contractor that came through and checked demolition-type items.”

Mrozek said heating and cooling systems would be put in through the hallways and classrooms at PBL High School this summer, with additional work and the construction of a new boiler/chill room on the south side of the building taking place next year.

“The old heating system is run off a stream boiler,” Mrozek said. “The new system is a high-efficiency hot water and chilling system with more pipes.”

Meanwhile, Clara Peterson Elementary School will also see a new system with its new addition. Mrozek said this summer’s interior work at that school will start with floor replacement and other work on three classrooms to the kitchen, which will continue through next year. Mrozek said work on the other existing classrooms would start next year.

The elementary school would also receive a new heating and cooling system, although Mrozek said that would not happen immediately.

“We cannot put the new heating and cooling system in until we are done with the new addition,” Mrozek said.

Bidding on the project is set to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30.

PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure asked about coverage for the bid packages. Reifsteck said coverage is being included in all packages.

“We have coverage in all packages,” Reifsteck said. “There are some specialty packages. Probably right now we have coverage that we’ve trying to improve.”

McClure said bidding for asbestos removal at PBL Eastlawn School has been delayed indefinitely.

“We pulled back the asbestos removal due to the fact that it would best fit the schedule to put that back off except for a few minor removal items until next summer,” McClure said.

Other business
Also at the meeting:

➜ No action was taken on a proposed amended budget. McClure said the district’s Skyward software system was down on the day of the meeting and that he had not been able to prepare the budget in time for the meeting. McClure said the amended budget would be put on public display at a later date.

➜ Heather Burgess and Tonya Strong were hired as part-time cooks at PBL Eastlawn School.

➜ A Family/Medical Leave Act request for Rhea Modglin was granted, effective from Feb. 19 through the end of this school year.

➜ Rob Pacey, Sam Schmale, Mike Tipsord, Lindsay Frichtl and David Jackson were approved as volunteer track coaches for the spring season. Board member Steve Pacey voted against the volunteer coaching hires.

➜ Steve Pacey suggested the board explore the possibility of having a retreat to discuss educational goals for future school years. “We spend a lot of reacting to what’s needed, but we need to plan what we want to have happen,” Pacey said. Pacey mentioned the earlier athletic committee meeting where the PBL brand was brought up, saying that it should apply to education, as well. Board President Dawn Bachtold said she would find a time for a retreat to happen.

➜ Clara Peterson Elementary School Principal Amanda Wetherell said summer school would be held from 8 a.m. to noon July 16 through Aug. 3.

➜ McClure said the school district’s calendar is holding up well. McClure did mention that part of the PBL High School band trip to New Orleans would take place during school days, since the district’s spring break is part of an extended weekend this year unlike a regular Monday-through-Friday break.
 

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