This summer, as construction of the high school athletic facilities begins, the Jefferson City School District will complete energy efficiency upgrades, construction of a road behind Thomas Jefferson Middle School and other renovations to individual schools.
Next year, the district plans to complete the athletic facilities, renovate Moreau Heights and Thorpe Gordon elementary schools, and bring a bond issue to voters to address overcrowding.
Originally, the district had planned for construction of the athletic facility additions at Jefferson City and Capital City high schools to start in May and for the fields to be ready for use by the fall, but it's taking longer than originally planned.
"That was a very aggressive schedule," Director of Facilities Frank Underwood said. "As time wore on, seeing where we were and what it was going to take, it's quite an undertaking. It just ultimately became a reality that that wasn't going to happen."
Now, excavation is expected to start at the end of June, and most of the construction is estimated to be complete by January with finishing touches done by March, Underwood said.
There are still houses that need to be demolished near Jefferson City High School where the fields will be added. The district finished closing Tuesday on all properties needed. Bidding for the various aspects of the Jefferson City High School project starts Thursday. Before the facilities can be constructed, utility providers need to relocate their services, Underwood said.
The district is still completing construction documents for Capital City High School.
Sircal Contracting is the construction manager at risk, and Architects Alliance is the architect company.
The projects will cost $21.4 million. The district plans to budget $1.5 million a year from the capital projects fund over the next 20 years.
Capital City High School's facilities construction will include a press box, home and visiting team bleachers, concessions, restrooms and locker rooms for use between the football and soccer fields; dugouts, concessions, restrooms and storage areas at the baseball and softball complex; and event parking adjacent to the soccer and football fields and near the tennis courts.
Jefferson City High School's facilities construction will include a baseball and softball field with dugouts, bullpens, batting cages and bleachers; a press box, concessions, restrooms and storage facilities for use between fields; a soccer field with lighting and home and visitor bleachers; a tennis complex with eight tennis courts; a pavilion with restrooms, concessions, storage and a viewing deck; and elevation of visitor bleachers at Adkins Stadium.
This summer, energy efficiency company Navitas will reduce energy consumption in each JC Schools building by installing LED lighting and upgrading the toilets, faucets and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Navitas specializes in energy efficiency programs "to help optimize facilities, realize cost savings, achieve performance goals and address deferred maintenance," according to its website.
The project is underway and includes installing faucet aerators and low-flow toilets with automated flush fixtures to reduce water consumption. The toilet upgrades will save nearly a gallon per flush, Underwood said.
Navitas will also install automation systems for automatic centralized control of the HVAC, electrical, lighting and other systems. They will look at every HVAC unit in the district to ensure they're working correctly and repair or replace anything that needs it and install air purifying devices in all HVAC units, which will improve indoor air quality in the buildings through needlepoint bipolar ionization, technology that produces a stream of ions that can capture contaminants in the air.
Cedar Hill Elementary School will get a new liquid cooling system that will be installed outside and provide air conditioning in the building as well as new duct work inside the building.
The heat pump systems at the middle schools will also be replaced, which will reduce energy consumption. The current heat pumps are about 28 years old on a 25-year life expectancy, Underwood said.
Most of the work is expected to be done in August, but Navitas will monitor and tweak the building automation systems for about two years after they're installed to ensure they're performing as expected.
The project will cost about $16 million, but it will save the district money in the long run, Underwood said.
"In the end, the upgrade pays for itself just through energy savings," he said.
Other summer projects
The district is completing many other projects this summer at an estimated cost of $4.5 million.
Elementary and preschool school summer projects include a kitchen remodel at Belair Elementary School, sewer construction from Callaway Hills Elementary School to Holts Summit, partial roof replacement and exterior window replacement at East Elementary, parking lot renovations at Lawson Elementary, possible playground sealant and paint at South Elementary, and entire roof replacement and front entrance remodel at Southwest Early Childhood Center.
Middle and high school projects include: warehouse freezer replacement at Lewis and Clark Middle School; partial roof replacement at Thomas Jefferson Middle School; parking lot renovations at Jefferson City Academic Center; removing trailers, redoing pavement, adding an auto exhaust system and ADA access at Nichols Career Center; possible bathroom upgrades to Capital City High School; basketball goal supports and safety mechanisms, basketball court re-coating, locker room benches, and CCHS water shed and tennis court adjustments.
Flooring will also be replaced in Belair Elementary's bathrooms and trailers, North Elementary's cafeteria, Thomas Jefferson Middle School's classrooms that have flood damage, Cedar Hill Elementary's bathrooms, a room in Lawson Elementary, steps in Lewis and Clark Middle School, and a cooler at South Elementary. Moreau Heights' flooring will also be repaired.
About two weeks ago, construction on a $1.5 million road construction project began. Don Schnieders Excavating is constructing a road behind Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Lawson Elementary School. The road will connect West Edgewood Drive to Fairgrounds Road/South Country Club Drive to alleviate traffic on South Country Club Drive.
Next summer, JC Schools plans to renovate Moreau Heights and Thorpe Gordon elementary schools. When completed, the changes will look similar to those made at East Elementary School in 2015.
Before Larry Linthacum became the superintendent, the district's leadership team had a goal to renovate one elementary school each year. They renovated East, West, North, South and one level of Belair and had planned to renovate Moreau Heights in the summer of 2016 and Thorpe Gordon the year after that.
But when Linthacum became the superintendent in 2015, he and the administrative council decided to shift priorities and use the money for additional staff and technology instead.
The district already has the blueprints and plans for Moreau Heights since it was expected to be renovated in 2016, which will shorten and ease the process next summer, Underwood said.
The renovations will include installing new HVAC units and bathroom fixtures, remodeling the gymnasium, abating asbestos in the buildings, upgrading the plumbing and electrical systems, and adding new flooring and a fresh coat of paint throughout the buildings.
These renovations are expected to cost $3 million for each school.
The buildings were not designed for rooftop HVAC units, so the construction will include peeling back the roofs, redesigning and engineering a structure that will support a rooftop unit, then installing the unit. The current heat and air conditioning systems will be replaced with central air and heat units.
"With that central air, we can control energy costs as well as the air quality within the buildings a lot better," Underwood said.
The older parts of Moreau Heights and Thorpe Gordon will not be part of the Navitas project. Instead, the district will make the same upgrades to these buildings as part of the summer 2022 project.
The buildings were expanded in the 1990s, so the newer parts of the buildings — which have central air and were designed for rooftops units — will be part of the Navitas project.
"For the original pieces of the building, there was no need to go put money in there and demo it out next year," Underwood said.
Possible bond issues
JC Schools is pursuing a solution to address overcrowding in grades kindergarten through eight and expects to bring a bond issue to voters in April 2022. District leaders plan to recommend an option to the Board of Education in September. Construction is expected to be complete by fall 2024.
The four primary options under consideration are:
- Keeping the trailers already in place and adding more as needed;
- Adding another elementary school and middle school;
- Adding two fifth- through sixth-grade centers — which the district previously considered putting on the April 2020 ballot;
- Adding two fifth- through eighth-grade centers.
The district is also considering a no-tax-increase bond issue in April 2025 or 2026 to renovate Jefferson City Academic Center, Southwest Early Childhood Center and Thomas Jefferson and Lewis and Clark middle schools and finish renovating Belair Elementary School.