Archive for Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Board approves traffic study for new school

January 18, 2011

The Tonganoxie USD 464 Board of Education approved a traffic study on the consequences of a new elementary school at the Washington Street campus that cost about a third of one presented last month.

Superintendent Kyle Hayden recommended Thursday the board accept the $11,000 bid from Olsson & Associates of Overland Park to do the study. It not only had the advantage of being the lowest bid received, but had the shortest turnaround time with a 20-day completion date. That compared to 30-day timeframe of the second-lowest bid of $12,300 from TranSystems of Kansas City, Mo.

The bid was much lower than a $32,600 bid from the Walker P. Moore firm presented at last month’s joint meeting with the Tonganoxie City Council, which had a 42- to 56-day timeframe.

Hayden said the savings in money and time were realized by reducing the scope of the study to Washington and Pleasant streets near the south campus. The Moore study would have looked at the citywide traffic consequences of a successful bond issue, he said.

Last month, the board voted to place a $26.9 million bond referendum before district voters on the April 5 city/school board elections. The bond would provide funds to construct a new intermediate school on the campus now home to Tonganoxie Middle School and renovations to the Tonganoxie Elementary School and the high school.

The district has retained HTK Architects to design the bond projects.

Olsson’s relatively quick turnaround will give the school district and the city time to consider remedies to any concerns identified in the study, which could include the extension of East Street through the campus and 14th street from the campus to U.S. Highway 24-40 and how those street improvements could be paid for.

In December, the city council discussed partnering with the district on the traffic study, but balked at the $32,000 of the first proposal.

Mayor Jason Ward said he welcomed the lower price of the study but wouldn’t speak for what the council might think of helping with its cost.

On Jan. 11, a day before the board meeting, the council consensus was that the school district should pay for any needed street improvements because its larger tax base would reduce the consequences on city taxpayers.

The board also voted Thursday to accept Hayden’s suggestion to hire a general contractor to manage bond projects should the April bond issue pass.

The construction manager or design-bid-build approach is the most popular method with school districts. It has construction firms bid on bond projects based on architectural and engineering design documents. The chosen contractor then hires sub-contractors.

An alternative is the hiring of a construction manager who works with the architectural firm to develop plans, is charged with hiring sub-contractors and inspects work on the jobsite daily.

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