Keller Citizen

Keller trustees take first steps on bond projects

Nine days after a successful bond election, Keller school board members got right to work approving the first steps on some of the key projects.

At Thursday’s board meeting, trustees voted on construction methods and on an architect for the conversion of South Keller Intermediate School into the career and technical education (CTE) center.

Corgan architects will get an extension to their contract to continue design work on the career training facility and also plan the minor renovation to the adjacent Indian Springs Middle School, which will become a fifth- through eighth-grade campus.

“Corgan has done an excellent job with the planning process,” said Hudson Huff, executive director of facility services. “To coordinate the timing at the two campuses, it makes sense to put them together.”

Six months ago, Corgan was chosen by a district committee from among four finalist firms to produce a conceptual design for a CTE center. Keller paid Corgan $35,000 for the preliminary work and will pay 6 percent of the construction costs on the pair of projects.

Officials estimate that the renovation to South Keller Intermediate and the addition of about 50,000 square feet will cost about $37.3 million and the work at Indian Springs Middle School will be roughly $1 million.

Board members also approved the construction manager at risk method for most of the projects:

The CTE center and Indian Springs

Additions and renovations at Keller High School

Classroom additions at Bear Creek Intermediate, Parkwood Hill Intermediate and Hillwood Middle schools

The new fifth- through eighth-grade campus and early learning center projects (slated for the same site).

Competitive sealed proposals will be used for the new elementary school and secure entry vestibule projects at Fossil Ridge High, Keller Middle, Chisholm Trail Intermediate and Trinity Meadows Intermediate schools.

Huff said that the construction manager at risk method was chosen for most of the projects because of the tight time lines involved. Officials want most of the work completed by fall of 2016, but the new elementary school is not slated to open until 2017.

Because the construction manager at risk gives the district a guaranteed maximum price, the contractor has the ability to choose options to stay on time and on budget, Huff said.

Officials also discussed overall time lines and the formation of a bond oversight committee.

Huff said that design work on most projects is set for early 2015. He would like to go through city planning and zoning in the spring and for work on the CTE center and Keller High upgrades to begin during the summer.

Administrators are currently seeking community members to serve on the oversight committee. Superintendent Randy Reid asked trustees to submit names of interested residents.

“We’ll have a set committee, but those meetings will be open to the public,” Reid said.

Trustee Brad Schofield said,”I’ve heard complaints that the district has not been transparent enough with bids.”

Huff said that bid information is provided to oversight committee members for review and to the board.

“I think we have been transparent in the past, and we will be transparent in the future,” said Board Member Ruthie Keyes.