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Powell school projects

Westside school gets under way this month

Construction of a new Westside Elementary begins this month with the demolition of the old facility, and a bid has been awarded for demolition of the natatorium/auditorium. In addition, School District No. 1 continues developing plans for the future of Powell Middle School.

Todd Wilder, coordinator of support services for School District No. 1, said the district received authorization to proceed on the Westside project last week, and a pre-construction meeting with contractors on the project is scheduled this week. Demolition should begin next week, and construction will begin in August.

Demolition of the building will be carried out by Brisco, the Cheyenne company that is currently completing the demolition of the old gym.

Construction of the new school will be carried out by Groathouse Construction of Cody. Cost of the Westside project is $8.13 million.

During construction, Westside Elementary students will be relocated to the old Southside Elementary building.

Meanwhile, asbestos abatement work is under way at the natatorium/auditorium, and the board last week accepted a bid of approximately $375,955 for demolition of that facility by O'Dell Construction of Sheridan. O'Dell and Brisco were the only bidders on the project, and both bids were lower than anticipated.

Demolition of the building should begin late this month.

Wilder said planning for a Phase I project at the middle school also is continuing. Phase I will include a cafeteria to replace the one in the old high school and a central kitchen, as well as classrooms to replace those lost in the natatorium/auditorium and the anticipated closure of the Home Ec. Cottage. The new facility will eliminate the need for middle school students to cross East Third St. during the school day and enable the district to abandon the old high school.

What will happen to the middle school after that is a question mark for the district. Phase II may consist of renovating the current middle school or replacing it. Wilder said the state, which is responsible for funding and maintaining all school facilities in the state, is facing the same question all over Wyoming due to the current economy and the results of the School Facilities Commission's evaluation of the state's schools.

After the last evaluation of the state's school facilities to determine construction priorities, Wilder said, a large number of the facilities were “in the middle of the list” in terms of their need for renovation or replacement.

Wilder said the future for the middle school will “be driven by the scoring” of the facility in the commission's evaluation of the school.

Other work in the district this summer includes relocating inventory currently stored in the transportation building to the district's warehouse, located in the former welding shop of the old high school, and major and routine maintenance work throughout the district.

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