Friday, April 12, 2013

Board approves middle school expansion

Project also to include remodeling of ‘center area’


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

School District Communications Director Heather Crocker shows where a new wing will be built on the east side of Wood River Middle School. Construction is expected to start in June. Photo by Roland Lane

The Blaine County School District board of trustees has approved a $1.7 million project for remodeling and building a new wing at Wood River Middle School in Hailey.

The precise budget, $1,762,081, was presented to the school board Tuesday evening and received unanimous approval.

The work will be funded by a 10-year $59.8 million plant facilities levy approved by county voters in 2009. The budget is about $200,000 higher than was budgeted for a new middle school wing four years ago prior to the vote. That budget, developed by McKinstry Essention, was for $1,584,000.

District Business Manager Mike Chatterton explained Thursday that plans have changed from when the earlier budget was developed.

“It’s a lot different plan altogether,” Chatterton said. “The original budget at Wood River Middle School only included an eight-wing expansion.”

The “eight” Chatterton referred to is the number of classrooms that would have been built in the new wing.

The new plan approved by the board is to build new wing on the east side of the building for only four classrooms. The plan also includes remodeling the large “center area” near where the new wing would be built to accommodate the district’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Program.

Chatterton explained that the addition of ASD students to the middle school was not envisioned when the original budget was developed.

The district’s ASD program currently resides at Woodside Elementary School in south Hailey but will be moved to Hailey Elementary School when Woodside becomes a “magnet school” for Dual Immersion studies only at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. The ASD area at the middle school will accommodate those students as they move out of elementary school.

Chatterton said the new ASD area will require offices, classrooms and rooms for one-on-one instruction.

The School District has been planning for expansion of the middle school for about the past year. In February, the school board approved Conrad Brothers Construction of Hailey and Bellevue architect Jolyon Sawrey as the design/build team.

Chatterton said the remodeling work will likely begin about the middle of May and the new ASD program facility is expected to be finished by the start of the next school year.

“The major construction will start when school is out,” Chatterton said, referring to the new wing.

He said the wing should be ready for use after the Christmas break next school year.


Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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