OPED: New high school, bus barn on track with passage of Ballot Issue 4A

MEEKER | With the passage of ballot issue 4A, the Meeker School District will now begin the process of new construction and renovation at Meeker High School and constructing a new school district transportation facility. Our school district is grateful to our community for supporting this effort. We are committed to completing this project with fair and transparent processes.
Because our school district does not have the capacity to manage a construction project of this magnitude on our own, the first step in ensuring a successful project is hiring an owner’s representative. A public RFQ/P was issued for an owner’s representative and four qualified firms responded. NV5 was selected for their excellent track record with school construction project management on the Western Slope. The school board approved the agreement with NV5 based on a recommendation of a selection committee composed of a community member, two school board members, and three school staff members. With any payment to NV5 contingent on the passage of the bond, we have been working with NV5 since October 17 to ensure we had a good start on the project if the bond passed. NV5 will now provide guidance in the selection of an architect and general contractor.
The selection committee for the architect and contractor also consists of a community member, two board members, and three school staff members. NV5 will offer recommendations and guidance, but the selection committee will make the decision about which architect and contractor we will work with. The school board maintains the ultimate authority and will give final approval for contracts with these two entities. We expect to have both the architect and contractor under contract by Dec. 1.
The selection committee has chosen to interview the following architect firms: The Blythe Group, CannonDesign and Treanor HL; and the following contractors: FCI Constructors, Haselden Construction and JHL Constructors. The school district will maintain separate contracts with the architect and contractor. However, we expect them to work hand-in-hand through the design and construction processes. This arrangement is intended to maximize synergy between the organizations involved, but also adds necessary accountability between the contractor and architect to ensure a properly constructed building.
In the coming months, we will engage in the design process for the new facilities. While the final designs are likely to appear similar to those used during the public awareness and bond campaign, this design process will result in some changes. There will be a design advisory group (DAG) consisting of a variety of stakeholders who will contribute to the design. There will also be multiple public meetings where community members can offer input on the design.
The design process will also provide us more concrete details on the phasing and timeline of the project. The current timeline anticipates the design process will occur through the winter with construction starting in May or June of 2019. Construction will continue through the 2019-2020 school year with the anticipation that both facilities will be ready in the fall of 2020.
We are looking forward to the continued community involvement through the design and construction of the high school and transportation facility. Our community’s support and involvement in this process has been phenomenal to date, which gives me another reason to continue proclaiming I am proud to be a Meeker Cowboy!

By Chris Selle | MSD Superintendent