The Reynolds School District is forging ahead with construction projects funded by a $125 million bond and is inviting local and minority contractors to see if they want to participate in the construction.
This district is building three new elementary schools and undertaking a big remodel of Reynolds High School. Other schools will get improvements and all schools will get safety and security upgrades.
"It is important to celebrate these schools as we move into construction, say goodbye to the buildings that have served students for many years and look forward to the opportunities the new buildings and improvements will bring," Superintendent Linda Florence said in a statement.
Voters approved the $125 million bond in May of 2015. The money will be used to replace Fairview, Troutdale and Wilkes elementary schools at costs of about $32.6 million, $23.9 and $26.4 million respectively. Reynolds High School will be substantially remodeled, adding 18 classrooms, upgrading the science labs and connecting all the current campus buildings into one structure. The projected cost for the high school work is $34.8 million.
One major security improvement at all the schools is to make the main entrances more secure. Some of the vestibules are done and all will be completed by the time children come to school in the fall of 2017.
The major overhaul of Reynolds High School has already begun. Students are noticing changes, such as the floor tiles being removed in the student commons area. It will be refinished in trendier, and more durable, polished concrete.
Most of the work on the high school is not terribly noticeable yet. For example, a main gas line and meter are being moved, which is necessary for the construction of a new counseling department addition. The work on the counseling wing will begin over spring break of 2017
Students will continue to attend Reynolds High School as the work is being done. The high school project is scheduled to be finished by the fall of 2018.
The three new elementary schools will be built on their existing sites while students continue attending classes in their current schools this year and during the 2017-2018 school year. Old schools will then be taken down and outside fields and play areas constructed in their place. The three elementary schools will be ready for students by fall 2018.
Some summer activities will be affected at some schools, the district said.
These major construction projects will be disruptive in the neighborhoods and Reynolds said neighbors will be notified prior to construction activities that affect them. Traffic patterns may be changed during construction and student drop off and pick up arrangements may be altered.
The district is holding groundbreaking celebrations for the high school and Fairview, Troutdale and Wilkes elementary schools in March.
Break some ground
The community is invited to celebrate the new schools at four groundbreaking events in March.
• The first party is from 6-7 p.m. Thursday, March 9, at Troutdale Elementary, 648 S.E. Harlow Ave.
• Wilkes will have its groundbreaking and party from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, at 17020 N.E. Wilkes Road.
• From 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, there will be a fete to launch the major improvements at Reynolds High school at 1698 S.W. Cherry Park Road. Child care will be available.
• Fairview Elementary School will hold its groundbreaking celebration Thursday, March 23, at 225 Main St.
Help build the schools
The major contractor for the $125 million Reynolds School District construction projects is holding a series of open houses hoping to work with local and minority contractors. The bond projects' general contractors are committed to actively recruiting local workers and subcontractors and meeting diversity goals by hiring members of traditionally underrepresented populations. Contractors will also provide opportunities to connect student learning with the Reynolds constructions projects.
"We are doing everything we can to maximize community benefit from these major projects," said Linda Florence, Reynolds superintendent. The next contractor meeting is from 3-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28. Meetings will be held the fourth Tuesday monthly until the end of 2017. The meeting will be held at Rockwood CDC, 18901 S.E. Burnside St. Contractors for individual projects will also hold information sessions for their projects.