Kelso Sch. Dist.
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News Release
Kelso School District Considers Plan to Combine Two Elementary Schools - 11/09/18

The Kelso School District is considering combining two of the three new elementary schools planned from the voter-approved bond in February into one larger school at the Lexington site. This option is being contemplated due to a combination of unanticipated conditions that are causing costs to be higher than originally predicted.

Over the last two weeks, cost estimates have been assembled from recommended schematic designs shared with the Kelso community at an open house forum on October 25th.  The schematic designs were developed for the Wallace and Lexington sites through an educational specifications and design advisory process comprised of teachers, administration, and parents over the past six months.

Along with the considerable rise of labor and materials costs, geological tests at both the Wallace and Lexington sites have returned soil and ground conditions that require a much more robust foundation.

“The district’s main goal is to preserve the approved bond projects to the greatest extent possible and deliver the projects on time and on budget,” affirmed Superintendent Mary Beth Tack. Other priorities include maximizing state assistance and matching funds of $50 million, maintaining small class sizes at the elementary level, and ensuring that space for future enrollment can be preserved.

In light of considerably higher costs, the district is looking at the following options:

  • Maximize cost savings that can be gained using value engineering (V/E) while being careful to not compromise quality of programs
  • Reduce bond program and deliverables to schools and community
  • Explore large scale efficiencies to projects to reduce costs, such as combining two schools into one

 

The district is working with Integrus Architecture and FORMA Construction to apply value engineering to the designs, saving costs wherever possible and preserving programs. In addition, the Facilities Improvement Team and Design Advisory Committees are being brought back to re-define the project scope. Recommendations will be brought to the Board in mid-December.

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