School board sees proposal for administrative office

Dylan Miller For Echo Pilot

 What were once the wrestling room and locker rooms at the Greencastle-Antrim Primary School could be a construction site for new district offices next year. Nothing was voted on, the school board viewed a draft plan for district offices at Thursday night’s meeting.

The district’s space crunch due to enrollment means there is no central office and administrators are squeezed into spaces throughout the district.

Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates Senior Project Manager Larry Levato introduced the proposed layout to the board, giving a visual of what the space would look like.

“Security is always important, so you can see that we’ve incorporated a secure entry vestibule, and there is a front lobby for visitors,” he said. “We’ve also created a workroom zone, or conference space for up to 12 people, and there will be office space in case there is a need to add staff, and there are several storage areas as well. The Department of Education requires us to connect the district offices to the main school body when the offices are incorporated into an academic building, so there will be a door leading into the gym for access as well.”

The office would be roughly 4,800 square feet and the base construction cost is estimated at $564,067.

“The total project range, including the building costs, is about $755,000 to $835,000,” said Levato. “This includes architectural fees, permitting fees, mechanical and electrical work and office furniture. Everything is included in these costs.”

Levato presented a proposed timeline for the project as well. Bidding was recommended to take place in January, and construction would take place through July 2018 based on current projections.

“However, there are some things to take into consideration when considering your costs,” Levato continued. “Because of the recent hurricane devastation, I think it’s safe to expect certain materials such as plywood and the like to increase in price, so keep this in mind when you look at your first bids.”

In regards to the bids themselves, Levato also warned the district of the trends he’s seen in the business and recommended them to act accordingly.

“We had to slow down several years ago, a lot of small contractors went out of business so we’re often hard pressed in all areas of all the school systems of finding four or five good quality competitive bids. Now, we might get one,” he said. “In Upper Adams County, we just sent out for bids for the third time. Prices came down significantly but it was the third time, and it just had to do with timing. Because of this, I’d like to release for bids as quickly as possible to compensate for these trends.”

School board member Shannon Yates asked if the board was considering where to move the wrestling supplies and if another area would be designated as wrestling space.

This discussion has not yet taken place and Dr. Kendra Trail, superintendent, said she wants to consult with facilities staff before discussing it at length.

*** Technology update ***

The board also heard a presentation from the district’s Director of Technology Dwight Bard on activities in his department.

“We had a number of recently completed milestones, two of which have saved administration and staff a lot of headaches this year,” he said. “We implemented CareDox, an online health management system, and InfoSnap, digital solutions for child registration and back-to-school paperwork. This greatly reduces the paperwork that floods the offices at the beginning of each school year and reduces the need for filing space.”

Bard also explained that Microsoft Partnership has agreed to deliver 16 free laptops and a cart to the district and the technology department is currently working on several system refreshes, including a primary interactive whiteboard refresh in 36 classrooms, elementary school desktop refresh, which includes 180 machines and a high school library refresh with 30 machines and has added 120 iPads to the district.

“One thing that has affected the technology department is the board’s decision to go from six full-time staff to five,” said Bard. “You had to do what you had to do, and we understand that, but staff reduction has resulted in a significant overtime burden for the technology team during critical summer prep and school start. The teachers were very patient with us and we were able to respond to all requests in a day, but unfortunately some had to wait a few days before we could actually address the issues they were having.”