South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Board hears summer Prop S updates


The Mehlville Board of Education heard an update on several Proposition S projects that began this summer at a board meeting Aug. 18 ahead of the first day of school Aug. 22. 

Several Prop S projects were started this summer across the Mehlville School District, with some completed before the start of school while other projects will continue throughout the semester. Prop S, for “Safe Schools, Safe Kids,” is a $35 million no-tax-rate increase bond measure approved in 2021 to fund the installation of secure entry vestibules as well as facility upgrades at all of the district’s schools. 

One of the more extensive projects started this summer was the installation of the security vestibule at Bierbaum Elementary, which required the relocation of some of the school’s offices and classrooms. 

“That project will go on throughout the school year. We’re not able to tear down and rebuild it in a summer. Offices were relocated early in the summer, that front-end is completely torn down and we’re getting ready to start on foundations,” Superintendent Chris Gaines said. 

The Oakville Elementary parking lot is another project that is underway and will continue through the school year. Gaines said the first layer of asphalt has been put down and the lower portion of the parking lot is usable for the start of the school year, but the overall project won’t be completed for several more months, with expected completion in November. 

Another extensive project is the upgrades at Blades Elementary – its offices have also been relocated and there is currently a temporary entrance into the school. There are temporary walls inside the building separating the construction areas from the students while still allowing students to move around the building. 

“We got temporary walls to separate the construction areas between the old office … and what was the old music room,” Gaines said. “But because of the amount of dust that got produced … the amount of cutting of concrete that had to happen, there’s a lot of dust in that building so it’s not as clean or spick and span as we usually start the school year with.” 

The bathroom renovations and secure entry vestibule at Oakville High School are also nearing completion. Construction crews are still waiting on glass to come in for the entryway and the final touches on the bathrooms are mostly “just punch list items.” 

“Any layperson would walk into the restrooms and say ‘Oh my gosh, these are really nice.’ The challenge is the (Americans with Disabilities Act) stalls … are too low to the ground so we have to correct that,” Gaines said. “But really, Oakville High is just punch list items and those restrooms are so much better.” 

The board had previously directed the administration to look into hiring a project manager to oversee the projects so the responsibility did not have to fall on district staff. Gaines told the board administration looked at both the possibility of contracting with an outside firm or hiring a project manager “in-house,” with the final recommendation being an in-house manager. 

“We talked to (two) … firms, talked to one of them a little more in-depth. Got some pricing … at the same time, we advertised  … to see if we could hire someone to operate in-house. After looking at all of that, talking with … firms, seeing what their pricing would be … it’s kind of shocking at what it would cost,” Gaines said. “In-house would probably be the route that we would prefer … We think it would be appropriate to probably try to advertise that position again in the midfall.” 

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