Yuma-1 project now past schematic design phase

The first significant phase of the Yuma School District-1’s $32 million renovation/expansion project already is completed.
Yuma-1 Board of Education unanimously approved the schematic design during its regular monthly meeting, Monday night at district headquarters in downtown Yuma.
Board president Dan Ross, and board members Duane Brown, Kim Langley and Thomas Holtorf were in attendance.

The board’s approval came after a project update by the design/build firm Neenan Archistruction, as well as owner’s representative Project One.
David Kurtz, lead architect for Neenan, displayed renderings of how the campus will look at completions, as well as interior floor plans.
He said the floor plan and basic imagery basically is set, adding it was preferable not to have any major changes at this point, as it would require a lot of re-working.
However, it also was noted there will not be any major changes as the school district has worked hard on its due diligence, providing a clear picture to Neenan on what it wants after collecting input from staff, students and the general public.
Kurtz first showed schematic drawings for the Yuma Middle School campus, where the bus drop-off for YMS and Morris Elementary will be moved to the west side, with more off-street areas for parental drop-off of students on the east side. The YMS junior high wing also is getting upgrades, including a new HVAC system that covers air-conditioning and heating.
Kurtz said Neenan is on schedule to turn in the permit requests for the YMS portion of the project before the end of this month.
Kurtz then showed renderings of the YHS campus after the whole project is completed, as well as floor plans. Brick on the new parts of the school will match the current brick color.
The new auxiliary gym, which will be located at the south end of the school near the outdoor sports complex, will be one of the first items done at YHS. It will be constructed with pre-cast concrete panels, which will then be partially covered by bricks. That end of the project also includes a new weight room attached to the auxiliary gym.
That work will also include electrical, plumbing and gas.
(The external renderings and floor plans will be available for viewing through links on the Yuma-1 website, yumaschools.org, in the near future. There also will be a Facebook page dedicated to the project.)
Andrew Garsize, pre-construction manager for Neenan, provided the latest cost estimates.
Construction costs for the BEST Grant, which is covering 50 percent of the project, was set at $26.74 million. As of now, the current estimate on project costs is $25.3 million, leaving it $1.4 million under budget.
Garside said there have been several changes made, after getting input from the community, and it still is under the target number. He said the bids for the actual work will tell the tale, but is confident in the numbers. When asked, he said it was a little tighter than he would like, but added Yuma-1 has done a good job upfront with the planning, so no major changes are expected.
In regards to the construction numbers, the YMS portion is $1.96 million, the auxiliary gym $4.57 million, the new wing $10 million, and the YHS renovation $8.6 million. When asked about the auxiliary gym cost, it was explained that infrastucture work such as electrical and other infrastructure work, has been pushed in the gym line item since it is now one of the first things to be done, and has been moved from being part of the new wing to being located at the south end of the current school. Conversely, the new wing costs have been lowered.
As for the renovation, Garside said “You’re going to basically have a brand new school on the inside,” explaining that one will not be able to tell the difference between the new wing and the renovated area when it is all done.
The Design Budget is set at $2.356 million, and the Owner’s Budget at $4.75 million, bringing the total to just under $32 million.
Chad Rayl with owner’s representative Project One told the board that the lead and abatement testing is about one month ahead of schedule, and the soil testing is done, and all of it is coming in under budget.
The Neenan representatives also presented the project schedule, which for the upcoming months includes a lot of permit requests.
Basically, the hope is to have all of the YMS work done over the summer before the start of the 2020-21 school year. Work on the auxiliary gym and weight room also will begin this summer, with the hope it will be completed sometime during the next school year.
As for the new wing, utilities will be done during the summer, but actual construction will take place during the 2020-21 school year.
Renovation of the middle area of the current YHS will be in the summer of 2021, with final renovation of the classroom wing taking place during the fall semester of the 2021-22 school year.
The plan is to have the project completed by the end of 2021.

Later in the meeting, Superintendent Dianna Chrismer told the board that is has been just a bit over three months since the November election, when voters overwhelmingly approved the property tax increase to pay for 50 percent of the project, and public input began in early December. She said it has been amazing what has been accomplished, the design looks great, and the district has a really good project.
“It’s the middle of February, and here we are,” she said.
Board members also spoke about the need to keep the public up to date, show that the money is being spent wisely, and that the district is being transparent in the spending of the public’s property tax funds. Brown asked if it was all right to bring the Yuma City Council up to speed during its meeting Tuesday night, and to visit with other groups board members had visited with prior to the bond election.
Holtorf spoke to the need to being as transparent as possible. Referencing the property tax increase people are seeing on their tax bills that recently came in the mail, he said it was critical the district spend the funds wisely and be open with the public.
Reassessment of residential properties played a role in property taxes increasing this year (in some cases more than 30 percent), but Holtorf said residents still will first think of the bond issue being the main culprit, so it was important the district show it is spending the funds wisely.