With preliminary site work completed, excavation and dirt work are now underway at West Elementary in Emmetsburg for a $2.9 million addition to the facility. Work began just days after school dismissed for the Summer break.
Kolacia Construction of Fort Dodge won the bid for construction of the new full-size gymnasium, cafeteria and office addition, which will be located on the south side of the existing school building. Originally, estimates for the project developed by architect Matt Bayse of FEH and Associates of Sioux City, the new construction and site work were estimated at $2,752,583.
As part of the project, remodeling inside the existing West Elementary will also take place, with those costs estimated at $66,530, the final estimate of $2,752,583 turned out to be a bit low when bids were opened earlier this year. Kolicia Construction, along with Sande Construction of Humboldt and Woodruff Construction, also of Fort Dodge, all submitted bids, with the Kolacia bid coming in nine percent above the architect's estimate. However, after some study and cutting of a few options, the bid came in at $2,979,900.
FOUNDATION WORK - Crews from Reding Excavating of Algona work on the foundation for the new addition at West Elementary School in Emmetsburg. The new facility will provide a full-sized competition gymnasium, along with food service and lunchroom area, storage and offices. Remodeling work in the existing school is also part of the construction project, which will be completed in 2014. -- Dan Voigt photo
Under the plan, a new competition gymnasium will be built on the southeast corner of the existing building, connected with a new lunch serving kitchen, student commons-lunchroom area and office areas along the south edge of the existing building. Along with the new construction, the old gymnasium will be remodeled to provide classroom space for Title One and At-Risk programs, as well as a new library for the elementary. The old administrative offices will be converted to space for Talented and Gifted classes, a conference room and storage, and the current library will be converted back into a pair of classrooms.
Funding for the construction and remodeling is coming from General Obligation School Capital Loan Notes. The bonds would be paid back over eight years through revenues from the district's Physical Plant and Equipment Levy.
The board has discussed the idea of adding onto West, the oldest facility in the district, to meet growing student numbers. Student populations and program offerings have increased to the point that there are instances where students and instructors hold classes in hallways, due to a lack of classroom space. Administrators have projected that with the numbers of students in Pre-Kindergarten programs, there would be a need for an additional classroom for the 2014 school year.
"We looked at lots of options and plans," noted West Elementary Principal Joe Carter. "This is a plan that best meets our needs and gives us the additional space and upgrades to our kitchen area and our gymnasium area and provides rooms for our supplemental programs that we don't currently have. It really is a plan that addresses a lot of areas and helps in a lot of needy areas too."
Construction will continue through the rest of the Summer and into 2014, with final completion in 2014.