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South High renovation plans OK'd

March 03, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

The Washington County Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $262,000 design contract for the second phase of South Hagerstown High School renovations, a project that is expected to cost $15 million.

The School Board retained BMK Architects of Frederick, Md., the company that designed the current renovations. With Tuesday's approval, the firm will make a total of $642,000, about 4 percent of the project's cost.

"I feel it's a very fair price," said Dennis McGee, director of facilities management.

In June 1997, the School Board received bids for the first and second phase of the school's renovation. BMK bid $540,000 to design both.

Since it did not have state funding for the second phase, the School Board hired the company to design only the first part for $389,000. The Interagency Committee on School Construction has since given its approval.

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The first phase affects mostly classrooms and the second phase involves renovation of areas such as the auditorium, gymnasium, music and technical education rooms.

Work on the first phase began in October 1998 and will be complete in July 2000, according to McGee. The second phase will begin then and will be completed in December 2001, he said.

When the renovation first went out to bid, it was expected to cost $12 million, McGee said.

The School Board used a state formula for budget estimates, calculating 130 square feet each for 12,050 students at $87.50 per square foot. Originally, the project called for approximately 150,000 square feet of renovation and an addition of 9,000 square feet.

Once the architect designed the plan, the amount of renovated space changed to 110,000 square feet and the additions expanded to 32,000 square feet.

The architect recommended demolishing the old shop buildings in the rear of the school, which McGee said were poorly constructed. The change opens up athletic fields and allows for a rear driveway.

Student and bus traffic will be separate when the renovations are finished, McGee said. The entire complex will be connected, so students can stay indoors while moving between classes. It also will be more energy efficient, McGee said.

The cost of the first phase is about $10 million, with about $4.9 million coming from the state and $5.1 million coming from the county. The funding is included in the capital improvement plan over a four-year period.

The second phase is expected to cost $5 million. The first phase is more expensive because it includes installing equipment such as boilers, chillers, cooling towers, sewer and water lines, McGee said.

"We're going to end up with almost a brand new South High," he said. "I feel it's a bargain."

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