Alexandria School Board awards construction bid for middle school and Early Education Center expansions

Innovative Builders has been awarded the contract for facility improvements at Discovery Middle School and the Early Education Center.

The middle school will get a two-station gym, including a gymnastics center, a tumble room and flexible meeting spaces. Innovative Builders will construct a two-classroom addition for early childhood programming, flexible spaces for education, party rooms and ample space designed for Shenanigans, the indoor playground facility.

“We are very pleased with these bid results as they are lower than the cost estimates by $800,000, and will allow us to utilize those funds in our contingency as we move through the construction phase over the next several months,” director of business services Trevor Petersons said.

The board set an overall project budget of $11 million for the improvements, which will cover the construction of the additions, design costs, furniture, fixes, equipment, technology and contingency funds.

Innovative Builders submitted the lowest bid at $8,299,900. The proposals were opened on April 13. Innovative Builders submitted the lowest bid from seven different parties.

During the regular meeting in February, the board approved these projects in an initiative to reduce the reliance on leased spaces and move towards owning property for all programs. The district has been working with JLG Architects during the design phase for both projects while welcoming feedback from community members, coaches and recreation user groups.

The funding for these projects will come from Certificates of Participation, or COPs, a mechanism that allows districts to utilize lease levy authority to add to existing buildings. COPs will be funded like a bond and paid off in 15 years, starting in 2022. The COPs will also be used to recoup project expenditures six months prior to the money arriving in August.

The board approved a resolution that placed six alternative delivery of specialized instructional services teachers on unrequested leave.

Scott Heckert, Human Resources Director in District 206, said a grant funds these positions. The district applied for the grant but has not heard back. Heckert reassured the board that situations such as this have happened in the past and the district will discuss welcoming the dismissed teachers if awarded the grant again. The board hopes the grant will come through from the Minnesota Department of Education within the next month.

The board approved a revised district calendar for the 2021-22 school year. Jan. 24, and Feb. 28, will roll back one week to Jan. 17 and Feb. 21 to align with and in observance of Martin Luther King and Presidents’ holidays.

All students will have the day off, including Pre-K ages. Staff will have an assigned teacher workday on Jan. 17 and a professional development day on Feb. 21. All students and staff will have a day off on Feb. 18.