Fort Wayne Community Schools plans to start the construction phase of its $119 million building project in the spring of 2013, district officials told board members Tuesday.
In the meantime, they said, the district’s leadership team is turning its attention to choosing the right companies to help design projects and to hiring temporary employees to help with the workload.
School board members heard an update on the district’s building project during a working session Tuesday. The building plan, approved by voters in May, involves $119 million worth of upgrades in 36 buildings deemed in most need of repair.
In 2013, the district will start on its major projects, beginning with work at Harrison Hill Elementary, Memorial Park Middle School and Snider High School, according to officials.
In 2014, it will start major project work at Jefferson Middle School, Harris Elementary and Irwin Elementary.
The next year, the district will begin to renovate Bloomingdale Elementary, Croninger Elementary, Haley Elementary and Weisser Park Elementary.
District officials said they intend to hire as many local companies as possible for the projects.
Last fall, Fort Wayne Community Schools officials identified up to $242 million in needed upgrades to its aging buildings. After a series of public meetings, the board whittled the plan down to $119 million worth of renovations at 36 buildings deemed most in need of repair.
Unlike the $500 million district building plan that was defeated in 2007, the current proposal calls for no additional square footage.
The majority of the current plan, or about $100 million, will address major infrastructure needs including heating and ventilating systems, window systems, safety systems and other problems at 10 schools.
The most expensive upgrade will be at Snider High School, where officials plan to spend $40.2 million to replace heating and cooling systems, replace windows, restore masonry and bring handrails and stairwells up to current code, among other projects.
During Tuesday’s work session, school officials said they planned to hire five temporary employees, as well as architects and engineers and construction managers, to help the district’s team through the building plan process.
The positions include an implementation consultant, who will help steer the district through the first stages of the plan, and several administrative positions that will help manage paperwork and logistics related to avoiding unnecessary disruptions during the school day.
Those positions will be paid for through the bond issue approved in May.
Board members used the meeting to applaud members of their building and finance team for their hard work on the building plan and for knowing when they would need to hire others for help.
Board member Steve Corona asked whether the extra staff mentioned would be enough considering the looming extra workload. He and board President Mark GiaQuinta also asked the district’s staff to use the expertise of the implementation consultant as much as possible.
“The scope of this greatly exceeds anything we’ve done in the past 18 years,” Corona said. “I want to make sure we get this right. There’s more than $119 million on the table.”