School of the Osage is moving quickly on its promise to have the rejuvenated Heritage Building ready for occupancy for the 2014-15 school year.
The board of education not only held a formal groundbreaking Monday evening, but also approved the first set of bids so construction can begin June 3. Trucks will be moving into the Heritage Building area shortly after school personnel abandon the facility when school ends later this week.
School officials and guests huddled in the Heritage Building and under umbrellas as a heavy mist failed to dampen the spirits of those who were primarily responsible for approving a $22 million bond issue in April. As the scheduled 5:30 groundbreaking approached, members of the board of education and Superintendent Brent Depeé donned hard hats and grabbed shovels for the photo opportunity and to turn the first spades of dirt as about 30 people looked on.
Everyone quickly returned to the Heritage Building for a reception and to view architectural drawings of the proposed building.
During the regular board meeting later that evening, the board approved 7 of 18 bid packages that will allow preliminary work to get started the first week of June.
“We’ve moving quickly and on a tight schedule,” Assistant Superintendent Tony Hermann said. “We’re still within budget, but it’s very tight.”
The building currently is two stories, with a third story planned on the backside of the middle section of the existing facility and below view from the parking lot. In addition to campus-wide hallways that tie the building together, an elevator will service the upper floors.
The renovation and the addition of a third floor will result in eight classrooms per grade ― K-2 ― or 24 classrooms. With the renovation of the existing building, two more classrooms per grade can be accommodated. There is room on the backside of the building for expansion if necessary.
The renovated building will accommodate 700 to 750 students.
The existing Heritage Building is 75,000 square feet. The addition will be 49,000 square feet for a total square footage of 124,000. The current Mills Elementary is 60,000 square feet.