The Board of Education for Jefferson City Public Schools approved the last renovation components for Jefferson City High School and contemplated, but did not make any decision Monday night on the future of Simonsen 9th Grade Center.
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The board approved glass work and the supply and erection of structural steel for JCHS.
Those final construction needs had been left out of a bid package the board approved last month, because the board wanted more time to get more than the single bids they had received — in the hope of driving down costs.
JCPS chief financial and operating officer Jason Hoffman said Monday that the board's decision paid off, with at least $500,000 in savings compared to what the district would have paid with the single bids they had previously received.
Hoffman said this time that there were two bids for the combined supply and erection of structural steel — which had been the only option the district had offered previously — two bids just for the supply of steel, two bids just for the erection of the steel and four bids for glass work.
Jacksonville Steel, Inc., of Beebe, Arkansas, won the bid for structural steel supply, for approximately $1.5 million.
A & H Steel Erectors, of Harrisburg, won the structural steel erection bid for approximately $1 million.
Pal's Glass, of Wichita, Kansas, won the glass work bid for approximately $1.7 million.
The board also approved another approximately $900,000 in addition to those bids as part of the same JCHS renovation package to include approximately $110,000 of structural steel purchased from DeLong's, Inc., of Jefferson City for work that was done while waiting for the new bids, and approximately $217,000 for football shock pads at Adkins Stadium and Capital City High School's practice field.
Hoffman said shock pads are installed under turf for concussion prevention. He said architects expect that all newly constructed stadiums will include the feature in a few years.
The board also heard information on the structural status and facility needs of Simonsen, which will not have any freshmen students in the coming school year because of the opening of Capital City High School.
Soon-to-be retiring JCPS Director of Facilities Bob Weber said the building is structurally sound — as was determined by consultants in 2015 — but he estimated it would take $3.8-4 million and up to three years to address other issues that would need to be resolved for the district to continue to utilize Simonsen: a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system; a new elevator; remaining sections of roof that need repair or replacement; plaster repairs; painting; and asbestos abatement work as it arises from the replacement of the HVAC system.
In the longer term, Weber said Simonsen also needs new windows, restroom renovations, an upgrade to LED lighting, and plumbing and electrical work — "another couple of million" in total for that work.
He cited a 2013 appraisal by ACI Boland Architects that found the site of the school itself also has some issues with Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility — inadequate ADA parking, and a front door that's on a hill.
Weber estimated it would take $5.8-$6 million in total to address all of the building's issues, which would be approaching half of the value it's insured for.
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The board did not make any decisions about Simonsen's future or what needs the building might serve for the district in the future, but asked for information members would like to know in that decision-making process, such as how much it costs for the district to operate Simonsen on an annual basis.
Hoffman said heating and air conditioning costs last year totaled $115,000 for Simonsen.
JCPS Superintendent Larry Linthacum said there's no immediate pressure to determine Simonsen's future before next school year, especially because Capital City High School students may need Simonsen's gym space, with their gym not set to be complete until Nov. 1, 2019.
Board President Steve Bruce said after the meeting that the option of selling Simonsen is not necessarily off the table at this point, and though demolishing the building but keeping the land in the district's possession is not necessarily off the table either, he said the board would want a definite plan in place for the building's footprint in that case.
JCPS Chief of Learning Brian Shindorf was not at the board meeting Monday, but in his printed update to the board, he said "There have been numerous conversations about what to do with Simonsen and whether JCPS should expand our current alternative programming. We are certainly not ready to make this decision but I wanted you to know that the (administrative) team is seeking input and reaching out to other districts to learn from their experiences with alternative programs. As we gather input and learn from others, we will begin bringing concepts to the board for discussions."