New High School/Career Academy Update
At a special board meeting on Wednesday, March 6th, the Greene County School Board approved a contract for $31,223,000 with Henkel Construction to construct the new High School and Career Academy. Henkel Construction has offices in Mason City and in Ames. We are extremely excited to work with Henkel Construction on this project.
Although there is currently snow on the ground as I write this, there is still a lot of work that contractors can begin doing now in order to get the construction process moving. The biggest thing that will be taking place involves what are called “shop drawings.” Shop drawings are produced by the contractor and/or supplier and they are their version of what is shown in the construction documents that were produced by the architects. These shop drawings are then sent to the architects for verification. After the architect verifies the shop drawings are correct, production of that particular component can begin. Two good examples of this would be the pre-cast concrete walls and the steel beams for the roof system. These will have to be custom built for this project. Henkel Construction will submit shop drawings of the pre-cast panels and the steel beams for the roof system to OPN Architects. OPN Architects will verify the shop drawings are correct. At that point Henkel Construction will work with their pre-cast manufacturer and steel company to produce the products to those specifications. There is a significant lead time involved in verifying shop drawings and then producing the products to the exact specifications. This process needs to start as soon as possible.
The legislative session in Des Moines is approximately half over. The session began with some positive legislation for schools. Student Supplemental Aid (SSA) was set at 2.06% and Transportation Equity was also extended and became part of the funding formula. As you can imagine, not all school districts are the same geographic size. As a result some districts spend significantly more money on transportation costs. Greene County is one of those districts as we are the 8th largest geographic district in the state. The Transportation Equity funding will greatly help us moving forward.
Another piece of important legislation that is being discussed is the extension of SAVE (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education). This is the one cent sales tax fund that school districts can use to purchase technology, buses, etc. and build and remodel schools. We need this extended to continue our 1:1 computer initiative, update buses, and continue to upgrade facilities.
I encourage everyone to keep up to date on what is taking place in the legislature. Also, I encourage you to contact our representatives Senator Behn and Representative Thompson to share your thoughts on various legislative issues.