Board Votes to Start Building Project--Aims for New Classrooms in 2012

posted Oct 14, 2010, 4:51 AM by Suzanne WARDINI   [ updated Oct 29, 2010, 8:49 AM ]
Wayne Rutherford, Director

At its October meeting, the ISD Board of Trustees made the historic decision to proceed with building plans for Phase I of the Campus Master Plan. We aim to break ground in January on a $9 million dollar extension to the school that will add a new Middle School, new High School, and new Special subjects classrooms, all in a four-story building on the vacant land behind the current Elementary School. The project is slated to be finished by August 2012, if construction schedules can be maintained. The Board took this decision following recommendations from Mr. Rutherford based on current and projected growth, current crowding, and needs for the the future. Three years ago, when I started as Director, the school had 271 students and the Board at that time was planning to build the school for a maximum 450 students. Today, with no additional classroom space, we are at 465 and our current facility is at maximum capacity. The planned expansion will allow ISD to grow to 588 students. 

Starting the building has been a Board and Director goal for two years running, so the Trustees and I are pleased to be finally moving on this campus improvement. However, the decision was not simple. ISD currently has a portion of the amount needed for building in its Capital Fund. I continue to work with the Board to seek loan approval at favorable terms from sources both locally and abroad. I am optimistic about the chances of securing the loan before ISD's Capital funds run out, however, there is a risk that we will get part way through the construction and not be able to complete the building. On the other hand, if we don't start now, it is certain that we will not have space for the students who desire admission in 2012 (we already have waiting lists, and at the HS level of 100 students, we are unable to expand further in our current space). The Trustees and Mr. Rutherford evaluated the risk as worth taking and necessary, given our position and projections for growth. ISD will also mount a fundraising drive locally, and the Board is looking for one or two parents with fundraising experience to join an ad hoc fundraising committee. If you have ability or interest in this area, please contact Mr. Rutherford.

From here, ISD will work closely with our Project Manager, the firm SCO represented by Sebastien d'Orange, to select a local architect and contractors for the construction. We will review contracting bids in November and select firms in December. A construction wall will be erected in December, the PE Palace and Mrs. Emborsky's trailer will be relocated during the winter break, and work will begin in earnest in January. As always, construction will cause some noise and dust, but we will do what we can to minimize the disruptions. Student safety will be our top concern, and students will be separated from the construction throughout the project.