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Repairs, upgrades paid for by $10.5 million bond are set to begin in June

Long anticipated repairs and upgrades to school buildings in Banks will take another giant step forward later this week when a call for construction bids goes out on Friday.

Members of the school district's Bond Core Management Team, along with the school board, got a comprehensive "walk through" of plans last week for the multi-million-dollar overhaul of the 1,130-student district's buildings.

Superintendent Bob Huston said stakeholders got a review of the original project budget, as well as information on what to expect as bids come in from potential sub-contractors on "soft costs" such as concrete, brick, wood and other building materials.

Voters in the school district approved a $10.5 million construction bond levy in May 2012 for improvements, repairs and new construction at the district's schools.

Topping the list at the high school are seismic upgrades, plumbing and roof repairs, as well as a remodel of classroom space. The junior high school will get a new 27,720-square-foot, two-story classroom wing, as well as a larger library and computer lab.

The two projects combined will cost about $7.5 million, Huston said. The bond construction team is also armed with a "wish list" of smaller projects in case there is money left to complete those, he said.

The process of collecting and awarding bids for the project will take about a month, with the project set to begin just after school gets out in June. First on the list is asbestos abatement, with "demolition of part of the junior high a week or two later, " Huston said. "I think the community will be happy to see it go."

Repairs and upgrades at the high school are scheduled to be complete by the time school resumes in September 2013.

Construction at the junior high is scheduled for completion by fall 2014. The revamped building will become at middle school, with sixth-, seventh- and eight-graders filling the classrooms.

During the construction next school year, Huston said, four classrooms will be housed in portable buildings. "We thought we could use the old ones but we can't," he said. "We're in the process of securing new ones."

One additional middle school classroom will be housed at the high school.

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