Lindbergh superintendent pleased with Prop R ’08 progress

District razes house to make room for new athletics field by middle school.


Lindbergh Superintendent Jim Simpson is pleased with the progress of the construction work being funded through the school district’s Proposition R 2008 bond issue.

“It is doing very, very well,” Simpson said of the Prop R 2008 work during a recent interview with the Call. “That’s actually the only silver lining in the recession for us as that is an ideal time to run a construction project. It’s the best of times and we’re getting incredible value. Everything we’re doing is high quality and on time.

“So it’s the best construction bond issue that I’ve been associated with in terms of working like clockwork and coming together …”

District voters approved Proposition R 2008, a $31 million bond issue, in November 2008. The school board had placed Proposition R 2008 on the ballot with the goal of providing a long-term solution to space concerns at Sperreng Middle School.

More than 1,300 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders have been jammed into the middle school that was designed to accommodate 800 pupils when it opened in 1970.

While Sperreng will remain a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, funds from Prop R 2008 are being used to convert Truman Elementary School to a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, add onto Crestwood and Long elementary schools, convert Concord School to an elementary school and construct a new Early Childhood Education building at 4814 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

While the school district received extremely competitive bids for the Prop R projects and the work is progressing well, that’s attributable to the oversight exercised by Lindbergh officials who carefully have been monitoring the quality of work and the project costs, Simpson said.

“It’s never easy building buildings. People think that when they cut the ribbon, the people that come to the ribbon cutting, that it must have been just a joy to get that building up there …,” the superintendent said, noting district officials meet weekly with the contractors. “We work very hard to make sure that these buildings are high quality and good value and on time …”

The school board voted in December 2009 to award a $15,503,500 contract for the Concord Elementary and ECE projects to Diestelkamp Construction Co., the low bidder. Thirteen bids were submitted.

In May 2010, the board voted to award a $6.37 million contract for work at Crestwood and Long elementary schools to TriCo Inc. Commercial, the low bidder. Fifteen bids were submitted for the work, which includes the construction of additions at each elementary school and improvements to the front entrances at each school.

In February, a $3.75 million contract was awarded by the Board of Education to ICS Construction Services Ltd. for work at Sperreng Middle School and Truman Elementary School, which will be converted into a middle school for the 2011-2012 school year. Thirteen general contractors submitted bids for the work and ICS Construction Services was the low bidder.

All of the Prop R 2008 work is scheduled to be completed by early August.

Also in February, the board voted to approve new attendance boundaries for the coming school year.

The district’s Parent Boundary Committee, which began meeting in November, had recommended that only Truman Elementary School pupils be moved.

As a result, pupils who attended Crestwood, Long, Kennerly and Sappington elementary schools this past school year will continue to attend those schools for the 2011-2012 school year. The roughly 800 pupils who attended Truman Elementary School will be divided among three of the existing four elementary schools and the new Concord Elementary School.

Roughly 500 of the 800 pupils who attended Truman Elementary for the 2010-2011 school year will attend Concord Elementary next year with the remaining pupils divided among Crestwood, Long and Sappington elementary schools. Kennerly Elementary currently is over capacity.

As for the new middle-school boundaries, Crestwood and Long pupils and pupils residing in the south Interstate 270 area of Concord will attend Truman. Kennerly and Sappington pupils and pupils residing in the Concord area around Concord Elementary School will attend Sperreng.

The Prop R 2008 bond issue also is funding a more than $1.7 million program designed to bring all of Lindbergh Schools’ classrooms into the 21st century.

The board voted in June 2010 to approve the Lindbergh INteractive Classroom, or LINC, program, which is being phased in over three years when all of Lindbergh’s 370 classrooms will be equipped with white boards and projectors for interactive instruction.

Proposition R also is helping the district with its “desperate” need for more practice fields, Simpson said, noting the district recently demolished a house it had purchased near Sperreng Middle School to make room for a new athletics field.

“It’s just an acre. It’s nothing majestic in size, but it is so needed. It will take some of the pressure off of our high school fields. We have in our community probably well over a hundred children’s teams,” he said, adding that while those teams “are not officially paid for or coached by Lindbergh public schools, they’re our children, our parents, our community.”

“And they look to us to give them a place to practice and play their games and that is a difficult thing. But we do. We’ve run our fields into poor condition in the past trying to accommodate and so we realize we’re desperate to have some more space. Actually, our community is short on that,” he continued. “That is a strong problem area for the communities that make up the Lindbergh district.

“We have nice parks, but they’re not athletic parks. They are walking parks, swimming parks, trails — all good things — but we’ve got thousands of children that say: I just love soccer. I love football or I love softball or baseball. I just need places to play. So this field is Lindbergh trying very much to accommodate that. One acre works well for those practices so there’s going to be a lot of happy teams because they’re going to have a field that they can play on.”

But the new field won’t solve the problem, Simpson noted.

“… As the coaches of those teams have told me, that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t begin to solve the problem,” he said. “It’s a good effort, but a small effort compared to the magnitude of the problem. Solving problems like that doesn’t happen overnight. You basically use discipline and measured steps to get to where you want to go and this is one of those measured steps.

“So we’re proud of that field and it should be ready in mid-July. It’s irrigated and so it should hold its grass real well and it’s fenced. In no time at all, it will be well known to many, many, many children and parents.”