Linda Lyon, President of the Oracle School District Governing Board
The Oracle School District Governing Board and other district leaders have been working hard to move ahead with both the bond projects and preparation for the new school year, one which promises to be anything but normal. Several months of work came together at the July board meeting when the board voted to begin making capital bond purchases and to reopen school on August 20. The reopening will consist of a hybrid model which offers parents the choice of sending their children to school or keeping them at home for on-line learning. The district estimates this hybrid model will cost approximately $275,000 over and above normal operating costs for the school year. We anticipate receiving $117,000 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to offset some of these costs. Superintendent Nehrmeyer will address more about the reopening in a separate article and on the district’s website (osd2.org) and Facebook page (OracleSchoolDistrict).
In a study session prior to the governing board meeting, the board heard again from the District Capital Bond Committee as well as representatives from our two project partners, BWS Architects, and the H2 Group (project manager). At the recommendation of the committee, the governing board approved the following:
• The use of capital bond monies to purchase furniture, technology, and equipment (FTE) for the new 10-classroom building (to replace the junior high Bateman building), approved by the bond. This is common practice with school projects and will ensure FTE is compatible with the new building and meets students’ needs. At the same time, care will be taken to reuse as much of the existing technology as possible.
• A new site location for the new 10-classroom building. The selected location will position the new building at the front of the campus, south of the school office building. This placement will help ensure a safer campus, preserve the flow of pedestrian traffic on campus, keep students centralized, and upgrade the entire front of the campus. Best of all, it will negate the need to rent modular buildings (saving significant funding) to accommodate students, as the Bateman building can continue to be used during construction.
• Continuing with the plan to remodel the library versus building new. The committee had asked BWS and H2 Group to assess the most economical path forward and they determined remodeling will save at least $160,000 over building new.
• Utilizing the Construction Manager At Risk (CMAR) project delivery method. This will help us hire the best possible general contractor to work with BWS and H2 Group to ensure our bond projects are completed within budget and as promised to voters. The CMAR process also allows the construction manager to be “on-board” during the design process which greatly aids in ensuring the projects are successfully completed.
Lastly, the governing board approved the district pursuing AZ School Facilities Board (SFB) grants for replacement of our current HVAC systems versus allocating capital bond dollars for this purpose. If approved by the SFB, it will free up $325,000 for application to other bond projects.
Your governing board is committed to delivering what we’ve promised and keeping you fully informed during the process. Board meetings are normally held the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. More information can be found on the district website to include past minutes once approved by the board and email addresses for board members. Please let us know if you have any questions.