School board hears alternative proposals

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Cape Girardeau school board is mulling over proposals from two building design firms to remodel part of the district's administration building on Clark Avenue into a new alternative school.

The board at a special meeting Monday night heard from representatives of St. Louis-based Control Technology and Solutions and from Cape Girardeau architect Phillip Smith.

Both propose spending $1 million or more to turn empty first-floor vocational rooms and part of a storage area at the rear of the building into the new Alternative Education Center.

The district plans to relocate the center from its current home in the old Schultz School by the start of the 2008-2009 school year because of the impending sale of the building.

The alternative school educates junior high and high school students who have had emotional or behavioral problems in school, have lost interest in school or fallen behind in their studies. The school also educates students serving suspensions and runs an after-school program that allows students to make up coursework so they can graduate from high school.

The board made no decision on hiring a firm. Board members scheduled a study session for Aug. 13 and said they expect to hire a design firm by late August.

Smith proposed renovating 14,000 square feet of space, providing 11 new classrooms, as well as several offices and a gym/cafeteria.

Smith estimated the project would cost $1.1 million to $1.35 million to build, including 8 percent for planning and design work.

The competing firm, CTS, proposes spending $1 million to $1.1 million, including design fees, to remodel 12,000 square feet of the building and provide about a dozen classrooms.

Patrick Morgan, executive director of administrative services for the school district, said the new alternative school would be built to accomodate about 100 students.

But school officials said additional classrooms could be built in the unused part of the building's warehouse section to handle more students in the future. The district is considering expanding the alternative school to include middle-school students.

Board member Tom Reinagel suggested the board consider renovating three rusting metal buildings on the junior high school campus and turn them into a warehouse/maintenance facility for the district.

Board members said they will discuss the idea at the upcoming study session.

Reinagel suggested the board wait until January to proceed with construction. That's because the district is still waiting for the sale of the old Schultz School to be finalized.

That could occur as early as October and as late as January, school officials said.

The school board in February agreed to sell the aging school at 101 S. Pacific St. into senior citizen housing. But the sale is contingent upon Hartle receiving state tax credits.

At the meeting, the board accepted the $183,900 low bid of Zoellner Construction Co. of Perryville, Mo, to construct a concessions/restrooms building bordering athletic fields at the high school.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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