The School of the Osage is wasting little time in getting started on renovation of the Heritage Building for new elementary classrooms and administration offices.

The School of the Osage is wasting little time in getting started on renovation of the Heritage Building for new elementary classrooms and administration offices.

Board members decided Monday night to set a groundbreaking for 2 p.m. Thursday, May 23, the final school day of the year. And by June 1, the Heritage Building should be empty so construction can begin. Only maintenance personnel will remain in the building.

“We had hoped to keep services and programs in place longer, but because of the aggressiveness of the schedule we’ll move out except for some maintenance in the basement,” Assistant Superintendent Tony Hermann said.

Representatives from Ittner Architects of St. Louis and S.M. Wilson, the construction manager updated the board. Gary Wille from SM Wilson and JC Reardon from Ittner said the renovated facility should be ready for the 2014-15 school year. Although the construction schedule is relatively tight, time has been allowed for weather and materials delays.

“We’re moving quickly,” Hermann, who is coordinating the project, said.

A pre-bid conference will be held at 1 p.m. April 30 at the Heritage Building. Bids will be due at 2 p.m. May 9, also at the Heritage Building, and bid opening should take place during the regular May 20 meeting.

Superintendent Brent Depeé said a plan is in the works for Heritage Building classes and staff during the construction.

Preschool will move to the Upper Elementary on Highway 42 and use classroom space formerly occupied by the grade until construction is complete. Transportation will temporarily relocate to the other bus barn facility on School House Road.  A permanent bus barn site has not yet been finalized.  

Central Office administration has not finalized office space for next year.

Thank yous

Don Steen, bond issue campaign committee chairman, also spoke to the board about the accomplishment of the committee.

“I can’t say enough about the committee’s work,” he said. “They made this issue their own. The people on the committee made it happen.”

Final vote totals gave the issue a 61 percent approval rating, less than 4 percent over the 57.25 super majority required for approval.

“I’m pleased with that, grateful with that,” Steen said, noting the anti-tax sentiment of most people.

The only precinct within the school district to turn it down was Brumley by a 2-to-1 margin. Steen speculated that residents in that area would have preferred a location near the Middle School-High School-Upper Elementary campus.

The issue, the plan

The $22 million bond issue addresses pre-k to second grade overcrowding at the Mills Elementary School, security improvements to existing schools and updating of the high school science labs.

The district’s bond levy will increase from $2.72 per $100 of assessed valuation to $2.849, a 12.9-cent increase. The Osage levy will still be among the lowest in the state, and less than area school districts.

The rates in nearby communities are Camdenton $2.87, Eldon $3.54 and Iberia $3.65.

The project calls for a 24-classroom elementary school addition to the Heritage Building, as well as renovations and improvements to the existing Heritage Building and campus. The elementary school addition will increase the number and size of classrooms and provide technology needed for current teaching methods. Construction plans include elevator and ADA access, and energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling. The Heritage campus will benefit with improved parent and bus drop-off and pickup, increased and improved parking and improved security and safety measures.