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FWCS moves on building project

Board hires architects, engineers

Fort Wayne Community Schools has hired seven local architectural and engineering firms to complete eight components of its $119 million building project.

The architects and engineers were approved at the board’s final regular meeting of the year Monday to ensure as much work can be completed next summer as possible.

A total of 15 firms provided proposals for an interview and selection process with a committee of FWCS facilities staff and administrators and representatives from Brailsford & Dunlavey, the consulting firm hired by the district to manage and oversee the project.

The firms that applied were given scores based on a set of criteria that included fees, personnel and proximity to the project site.

The firms will begin work on design plans for the eight portions of the project including chiller additions; roof, site and window upgrades; and the work at Harrison Hill Elementary School and Snider High School, as well as the modular village that will be required during construction at Snider. Work will begin as early as spring of next year.

Other repairs approved

In other business, the board approved shifting money left over from other capital projects unrelated to the $119 million building project to finance a serious roof repair at Wayne High School.

The roof project will cost about $29,000 and the leftover money will cover all but $2,300. The work is required as a result of improper installation when the school was built in the 1970s, said Darren Hess, director of facilities.

Board president Mark GiaQuinta encouraged Hess to find out where the breakdown occurred in inspecting the roof.

State schools chief vows new approach

Glenda Ritz, newly elected state Superintendent of Public Instruction, also attended the meeting. She met with GiaQuinta, Superintendent Wendy Robinson and other district officials before the meeting. Ritz, who defeated Tony Bennett in November, said she’s preparing to make many changes in the state Department of Education when she takes office in January with, “a whole different approach to supporting public schools in Indiana.”

Ritz told the board her administration will focus more on providing academic support to districts like FWCS, which she said will be a model for districts across the state.