Posted: Feb. 19, 2014 10:55 pm Updated: Mar. 5, 2014 11:15 pm
By EDWARD HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Quincy School Board voted 5-2 Wednesday to authorize spending up to $249,250 for the first phase of a master plan laying out a series of proposed improvements to the district’s facilities.
Three architectural/engineering firms — Architechnics Inc., Klingner & Associates, and Poepping, Stone Bach & Associates — will work jointly to complete the first phase by June. At that point, the board will decide if it wants to authorize an additional $123,750 for more detailed architectural/engineering work, thereby putting the total cost of the master plan at $373,000.
“I can’t support a $373,000 study,” said Richard McNay, the board’s Finance Committee chairman, who joined Melvin “Bud” Niekamp in voting against the first-phase appropriation.
“This is a little grander than I envisioned.”
McNay said it was his understanding the board was going to ask an architectural firm merely to provide some detailed proposals on what one or more new elementary schools would look like and cost and what it would take to build an addition onto Quincy High School and renovate several grade schools.
Instead, he said, the proposal submitted to the board called for a far more detailed assessment.
The three architectural firms working as team will spend a combined 1,994 hours working on the first phase and 990 hours on the second phase at a cost of $125 per hour to produce a report that would help guide the board in making a decision on what to do about the district’s aging facilities.
The five board members who voted to support the development of the master plan — Sheldon Bailey, Jeff Mays, Scott Stone, Sayeed Ali and President Stephanie Erwin — said they feel the cost is justified because the study will produce a thorough analysis of all options being considered, including site plans, floor plans, construction schedules and many other details of a school construction program that could cost $75 million or more.
“This is what we need to do,” Erwin said.
“This is a natural next step,” agreed Bailey. “I’m really in favor of this.”
Stone said spending about one-half of 1 percent of a $75 million project to prepare a solid planning document “probably makes sense.”
Mays said he wanted to make sure the architects provide a fair review of the district’s current facilities to find out which assets can still be used in the future. “There’s a large part of the community that says we can do what we need to do with what we’ve got,” Mays said. “I certainly don’t want to discount that.”
Ali said he was supportive of developing a detailed master plan, but he questioned the need to spend a lot of time and money reviewing options that aren’t likely to be adopted. For example, he pointed to a proposal that the architectural team explore a local citizen’s proposal to build a new high school and put all of the district’s elementary students into the current high school building.
Ali said building a new high school doesn’t appear to be economically feasible, “so maybe research doesn’t even have to be done” on that idea.
Todd Moore of Architechnics, who served as spokesman for the three architectural/engineering firms, said the proposal to build a new high school was included in the suggested list of tasks because “we don’t want to limit ourselves” when looking at all options for the district.
However, because a new high school would likely cost in the range of $120 million to $150 million, “we’re not going to spend a lot of time in that area because right out of the gate we know it’s not feasible from an economic standpoint,” Moore said.
Plans submitted by the architectural firms call for creating a steering committee to oversee the development of the master plan and to make recommendations to the full School Board.
During the first phase of the master plan development, the architects and engineers will meet with school personnel to gather ideas on what features would be important to include in any new or renovated schools. The team also might host a public forum. Click here to view the master plan proposal.