Farmington School Board approves school construction projects

by Jennifer Chick
Sun Thisweek

The Farmington School Board approved several large-scale district construction projects at Monday night’s work session.

Included in the approvals was $6.23 million for Farmington Elementary School, $1.12 million for work at Akin Road Elementary School and $192,000 at Farmington High School.

According to Farmington Finance Director Carl Colmark, the upgrades at Farmington Elementary include remodeling and much needed improvements inside the building. This will include expansion of the kindergarten classrooms, updating the HVAC system, and expansion of the kitchen cafeteria.

Exterior work will be done to replace asphalt and concrete.

Because of the age of the building, there is asbestos that also must be removed during the remodeling process.

“It’s a fairly aging building that had a lot of deterioration and updating was necessary,” Colmark said.

Jorgenson Construction of Coon Rapids received the bulk of the work at $6.034 million. Mavo Systems was awarded the asbestos abatement contract with its bid of $197,740.

Colmark said much of the work will be done this summer, extending through December 2013. Finishing work will conclude in summer 2014.

At Akin Road Elementary, the board approved a bid of $1.12 million to CM Construction of Burnsville, primarily to upgrade the building’s air-handling units.

That total also includes $108,000 to enclose the media center. Colmark said the media center is open to the rest of the school with students and staff walking through there during the day. By putting up doors at the entrances to the media center, he said it will keep noise and other distractions to a minimum.

At the recommendation of staff, the board did not approve three separate alternative bids for locker replacement, a staff restroom and office remodeling. The district wants to get more input from staff in the building before pursuing those projects.

The board also approved a $192,000 bid from Thelen Heating and Roofing to remove and replace the current science room vent hoods at Farmington High School.

When the current vent hoods were installed, the exhausts directed fumes from the science room back into the air recycling system. Although there have been no problems because of this mistake, the district wants to correct the situation so there will be no concerns in the future.

To finance part of this construction, the board approved the sale of $2.26 million in Alternative Facility Health and Safety bonds. By doing this, Colmark said the district can complete the projects now and then repay the bonds over an extended period of time. The rest of the construction will be paid through the bond construction fund approved by the district in 2005 for Farmington High School and other building projects.

At the recommendation of district staff, the board rejected all bids for the high school chiller enclosure. Colmark said bids came in 50 percent higher than estimates. The district will get feedback from manufacturers about why the bids were so much higher than estimates before proceeding with the project and awarding bids.
In other action

The board also changed the format of its meetings.

Currently, the board has been having a work session at the beginning of the month with a business meeting to follow two weeks later.

Several board members were concerned that during the work sessions, business action has been taken without a period for public comment.

The board decided to change its format to business meetings every meeting date with a work session to follow.

With this format, business action can be taken with a period for public comment, even on work session nights.