A master plan for facilities improvements throughout the Mehlville School District was presented recently to the Board of Education.
Dickinson Hussman Architects discussed the plan with the board at its annual retreat earlier this month.
Board members voted in May to approve a $75,000 agreement with Dickinson Hussman to provide a master plan and cost estimates for improvements to three middle schools and two elementary schools as part of the district’s long-range plan, COMPASS II — Charting the Oakville-Mehlville Path to Advance Successful Schools.
The COMPASS II plan recommends nearly $98 million in facilities improvements throughout the district. Among those are major renovations at Bierbaum and Trautwein elementary schools, as well as Oakville and Washington middle schools.
The proposed improvements to the middle schools are designed to give them parity with the district’s fourth middle school, Bernard, which was built in 2003.
The plan initially also called for renovations at Buerkle Middle School. While a number of Buerkle teachers and parents suggested at recent COMPASS II community-engagement sessions that the district simply should tear down the school and build a new one, officials initially believed it would be more cost-effective to perform a “gut rehab” — renovating the interior without completely demolishing the structure.
But after examining the site and drawing up a master plan, Dickinson Hussman determined there just wasn’t enough space for a high-performing middle school and that too much of the existing structure would have to be torn down and rebuilt anyway.
Therefore, architects and district officials in July proposed amending the COMPASS II plan to provide for construction of a new Buerkle Middle School on the Mehlville Senior High School campus on Lemay Ferry Road. All but one of the two dozen or so people who attended a special town-hall meeting last month about the new Buerkle Middle School favored that alternative proposal.
Dickinson Hussman recently outlined the following $62.5 million in improvements to the three middle schools and two elementary schools in its master plan:
Roughly $27.8 million to build a new Buerkle Middle School north of the Mehlville Senior High School campus. This includes abatement costs for soil contamination and an underground oil tank on the high school campus, as well as asbestos removal and demolition of the Witzel Learning Center and Central Office Administration Building, and relocating the existing bus facility to the campus of the former St. John’s Elementary School, which now houses the district’s SCOPE program.
Though it has not received formal approval, Dickinson Hussman and district officials have considered demolishing the Central Office and Witzel Center and relocating those offices, programs and classrooms to the existing Buerkle Middle School facility on Buckley Road.
$10.7 million each for renovations at Oakville and Washington middle schools, such as a new entry, library and administrative offices.
Roughly $6.4 million for a new entry, administrative offices and a three-story classroom wing at Bierbaum Elementary.
$6.9 million for a new entry, administrative offices and a two-story classroom wing at Trautwein Elementary.
Additional COMPASS II facilities improvements include:
Roughly $11.7 million for site drainage improvements, HVAC upgrades and a new arts and technology center at Mehlville Senior High School.
Roughly $10.4 million for site drainage improvements, damaged sidewalk replacement, acoustics improvements, HVAC upgrades and a new arts and technology center at Oakville Senior High School.
The two new arts and technology centers would provide classroom space for the district’s fine arts programs and would free up existing classrooms that currently house those programs at the high schools, which already are over capacity, officials have said.
$574,500 for additional parking, an additional sidewalk, site drainage improvements, a stop light at Forder Road, acoustics improvements and HVAC upgrades at Bernard Middle School.
Roughly $1 million for site drainage improvements, additional parking, HVAC upgrades, acoustics improvements and one kindergarten room addition at Beasley Elementary.
Roughly $1.5 million for damaged sidewalk replacement, additional parking, one early childhood addition, two kindergarten room additions, acoustic improvements and HVAC upgrades at Blades Elementary.
Roughly $1.8 million for additional parking, site drainage improvements, acoustic improvements, HVAC upgrades, one kindergarten addition and one early childhood addition at Forder Elementary.
$853,000 for a second exit onto Hagemann Road, site drainage improvements, acoustic improvements and HVAC upgrades at Hagemann Elementary.
Roughly $1 million for additional parking, HVAC upgrades, acoustic improvements, one kindergarten room addition and one early childhood room addition at Oak-ville Elementary.
Roughly $2.1 million for additional parking, traffic flow improvements, HVAC upgrades, acoustic improvements, three kindergarten room additions and one early childhood room addition at Point Elementary.
$754,500 for additional parking, damaged sidewalk replacement, site drainage improvements, traffic flow improvements, HVAC upgrades and acoustics improvements at Rogers Elementary School.
Roughly $2 million for additional parking, site drainage improvements, one kindergarten room addition, one early childhood room addition, HVAC upgrades, asbestos floor tile removal, fire alarm re-placement and acoustics improvements at Wohlwend Elementary School.
$128,500 for additional parking, a second exit onto Koch Road, HVAC upgrades and acoustics improvements at the John C. Cary Early Childhood Center.
$766,000 for concrete entry stairs replacement, entrance drive widening and HVAC upgrades at the district’s SCOPE program facility.
With the exception of the proposed new Buerkle Middle School, the COMPASS II recommendations were crafted during six community-engagement sessions that drew more than 1,200 participants. At the final community-engagement session in May, nearly 400 participants overwhelmingly recommended the board pursue a 94-cent tax-rate increase to fund the plan, the first phase of which contained more than $107 million in recommendations.
Besides the nearly $98 million in facilities improvements, the COMPASS II plan contained roughly $9 million in operating recommendations.
The school board voted last week to place an 88-cent tax-rate increase proposal on the Nov. 2 ballot to fund an adjusted, roughly $106 million COMPASS II plan.
While all facilities recommendations remain in the plan, two operational proposals were removed to reduce the required levy to 88 cents from 94 cents.