Old CHS Demolition
R-2 Eyeing Demolition
There's just 21 days before the first day of the 2009-10 school year and Chillicothe R-2 School District Assistant Superintendent Wade Schroeder has one eye on the ongoing demolition project at the middle school and the other on the school calendar. "The demolition contractor feels like he's been on time," Schroeder said in an interview yesterday. However, he said the district is developing a plan of action if the razing of the old high school building (located between the east and west wings of the middle school) is still ongoing once school starts.
Representatives from the contracted demolition company - Red Rock CDT, Inc. - have predicted the old high school will be leveled by Aug. 1. Once that happens, according to Schroeder, the rubble will be carted away - a process which should make the scope of the project smaller by the day. "They've (the company) said they've found more metal in the building than they were expecting, which might have slowed them down a little," said Schroeder. However, he said that the contractor has also found "tremendous" weak spots in the building - areas where the structure has simply crumbled - which has aided the razing project.
The assistant superintendent said the district will be using orange snow fencing to keep students from project areas. He noted that the district has been working closely with the city's zoning enforcement officer Gil Gates, in determining where the fences will need to be located. "The district's primary concern is for the safety of the kids and offering them as good of a learning environment as possible," Schroeder said.
The contract between the district states that if the project is not completed - with the site ready to plant grass by Aug. 15, the company will be assessed a $500 a day fine. But, to say there will be no disruptions in the regular middle school day, he said, is unrealistic. "Hopefully," he said, "the disruptions will be kept down to a minimum." To that end, district officials and CMS administrators have examined the class schedule and made numerous modifications in an effort to keep the student traffic flow outside the learning cottage, and the middle school's east and west wings to a minimum.
The Walls Come Tumbling Down
Learning Cottage Inspection
CAPTION: Jim's Mobile Offices employees work on completing the setup of the learning cottage this (Wednesday) morning behind Chillicothe Middle School. School district officials say two inspections have been done on the structure within the last two days. Pending the results of those inspections, the district will either move into the building or request more renovation work be completed prior to occupancy.
C-T Photo/Laura Schuler
The recently-assembled learning cottage behind Chillicothe Middle School has undergone two inspections within the last two days. According to district officials, once results of those inspections are in, the district will either take possession of the building or request additional building renovations.
According to Dr. Linda Gray Smith, superintendent, a representative from the Missouri Public Service Commission (manufactured homes division) performed an inspection today (Wednesday) to ensure the building meets code standards of the state and that it is set properly. (The building has 10 units). "Each unit does have a Missouri code seal that indicates they were manufactured according to code," Smith said.
Smith also said that a representative from Apex, an environmental consulting company, inspected the building yesterday (Tuesday). Results from that inspection are expected sometime next week. "The learning cottages are not ready for occupancy; a punch list has been prepared and all the needs must be met before the district will take possession of the cottages," the superintendent said.
Punch list items, Smith said, include: the replacement or cleaning of stained carpet, repairing of exterior walls, the replacement of sub flooring in a bathroom, replacement of flooring in a hallway, and replacement of tile. An open house will be held when the learning cottages are ready for school.
CAPTION: Demolition work on the old Chillicothe High School is continuing, and a large portion of the roof on the building is now gone with material being hauled away in a large truck parked behind the school. District officials say the project is running on schedule and once the roof is removed, demolition work will focus on the walls.
C-T Photo/Laura Schuler
Up on the Rooftop
Old CHS Demolition Under Way
CAPTION: Just about the time the first day of summer school classes let out, four portions of the Chillicothe R-2 School District's "learning cottage" were hauled into town and carried west down Polk Street, which was blocked off by Chillicothe police. District officials say the remaining six portions of the modular structure are scheduled to arrive next Wednesday or Thursday. When assembled, the structure will measure 160-by-60 feet and will house office and storage space as well as classrooms which will be needed in August after the old high school is demolished.
C-T Photo/Laura Schuler
Demolition is well underway at the old Chillicothe High School on Calhoun Street and four of 10 portions of a "learning cottage" have arrived in town to give the district needed classroom, office and storage space this fall, once the historic building is demolished.
According to Dr. Linda Gray Smith, R-2 superintendent, Red Rock CDT, of Hamilton, Mo., which purchased the three story structure for $195,000 last fall, is currently conducting asbestos abatement with the appropriate permits from the Department of Natural Resources. Additional items, such as the wood work and metal have been removed to ensure the fill is clean that will be removed, Smith said. "While everyone is saddened that the facility will be removed, the timing of the demolition is such that the education of the 400 middle school students who will return in August will be disrupted as little as possible. In addition, the safety of the students when they return is critical," Smith said.
The board of education has considered the razing over a period of months. In May 2008, the district received reports from two structural engineering firms, which showed that extensive renovations would have been required to return all portions of the building to use for the students. Smith also noted that building codes have changed since the facility was originally built 85 years ago.
She added that plans are forming to replace the facility with partnered facility including a senior center, an early childhood center, and middle school classroom space. In the meantime, however, middle school students and staff will be utilizing a "learning cottage," measuring 160-by-60 feet - four portions of which arrived in town Thursday afternoon.
The Chillicothe R-2 school board approved a three-year lease with Jim's Mobile Offices, or Marion, Ill., for the large mobile building. The lease will total $44,000 a year and comes with a $14,000 set-up fee. Delivery of the structure comes at no cost, but the district is responsible for the necessary ground and utility work prior to the placement of the structure at a cost of about $15,000. When assembled, the "learning cottage" will be located north of the existing Chillicothe Middle School building, just east of the practice field.
CAPTION: The ticket booth in the old high school has been given to the Grand River Historical Society.
C-T Photo/Laura Schuler
What's Next at
CAPTION: The old Chillicothe High School at 1529 Calhoun will be demolished during the summer of 2009 after the R-2 board approved the 84-year-old building's sale and subsequent demolition to Red Rock CDT, Inc., of Hamilton, Mo., for $195,000. The work will begin once school lets out for the 2008-09 school year and is slated to be finished before classes resume in August 2009.
C-T Photo/Laura Schuler
Now that the Chillicothe R-2 school board has approved the demolition of the old portion of the middle school (formerly the district high school), administrators are now focusing on what should be done to come up with needed space for the five rooms currently being used on the historic building's first floor.
The school board last month approved a bid by Red Rock CDT, Inc., of Hamilton, Mo., to purchase and demolish the building for $195,000. Work will begin as soon as school is dismissed for the 2008-09 school year in May and will be completed before school resumes that August.
According to Wade Schroeder, R-2 assistant superintendent, the district is looking at leasing what the industry terms "mobile learning cottages" - two of which will likely be placed behind the middle school, specifically in the parking lot north of the fieldhouse. (He explains that the parking lot north of the gymnasium would be the ideal location for the cottages because the other parking lot north of the sixth and seventh grade building has a main sewer line beneath it). The cottages, Schroeder says, would each likely house three classroom spaces and bathrooms, netting the district six rooms for classrooms, office and storage space. The district is also looking at placing those cottages facing each other, so that only one set of ramps and one shared landing area would bee needed.
At one time, R-2 administrators had considered moving the classrooms, office and storage space to the basement of the fieldhouse, following needed renovations. However, after discovering the costs associated with installing a necessary sprinkler system in that area, as well as doing needed electrical, and heating and air conditioning work, the idea has all but been discarded. During the November school board meeting, Schroeder told board members moving the classrooms and office and storage space downstairs from the fieldhouse would likely come with a price tag of around $100,950.
Leasing the buildings for $19,500 a year, he explains, would buy the district some needed time to make good decisions on a more permanent solution. That solution, he said, will be aided by the comprehensive facility needs plan currently being conducted by the district's building assessment and planning company.
In October, the R-2 district hired Dickinson Hussman Architects and Educational Consulting Services after an anonymous donor pledged $20,000 toward the cost of the contract.
After conducting a survey of staff members from each building, the firm will send engineers to examine each building, making note of any roofing, electrical, or mechanical problems. Once that is finished, information will be compiled and will be presented to the board, along with projected costs - a process that will likely take about five months. Then, district officials say, the company will hold public forums designed to net community input to come up with a long-range plan for the board to consider over the summer of 2009.
Schroeder says there is a real possibility that a permanent building, serving a variety of purposes, may be built in the parking lot north of the fieldhouse in the future. Some of the possibilities involved, he explained, include moving an early childhood learning center to the building alongside the middle school classrooms, with enough room for a community-type organization, like a senior center.
Schroeder also noted that the district now has a grant-writer on staff whose sole responsibility is to search for available grant monies and apply for them for the benefit of the district. (The Chillicothe R-2 board hired former alternative middle school teacher and proven successful grant-writer, Nancy Elliott, to that position during the executive session of the November board meeting.)
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