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

Mehlville moving forward with parking lot renovations at OES, planning other Prop S projects


Renovations of the Oakville Elementary School parking lot will proceed this summer after the Mehlville School District obtained the necessary permits to begin construction. 

At the Board of Education meeting Jan. 20, Superintendent Chris Gaines told board members that plot issues regarding the existing Oakville Elementary property had been cleared through the courts that week and the district is moving forward with building permits. 

“We anticipate that will be before the board Feb. 3 at the earliest depending on how long it takes us to analyze those bids and do some checking,” Gaines said. “Then construction would begin (in May) … with a plan to hopefully have all that one done … a little bit before school starts. This is a project that absolutely has to get done over the summer because it is so disruptive to the traffic flow.” 

Renovation of the Oakville Elementary parking lot is part of the district’s $35 million no-tax-rate increase bond measure, “Proposition S”, passed by voters in April 2021. The bond measure is being used to fund facility upgrades and secure entry vestibules across all of Mehlville’s buildings. The facility priorities were narrowed down by a Facilities Steering Committee, which toured all of the buildings in 2019 and part of 2020. 

“Maybe you could describe this whole process of moving from passing a ballot to construction project, after construction project after construction project, as a bit of a roller coaster,” Gaines said. “After Prop S was passed, we had a couple of projects that were ready to go – we jumped on those. Those are completed. In the background, we’ve been doing all this planning work and we’re getting ready to bid a bunch of jobs. … So what is visible to people is going to kind to come in waves here at first until we really get things kicking.” 

In addition to the Oakville Elementary parking lot, Gaines said the next wave of projects include restroom work and the installation of a secure entry vestibule at Oakville High School, with bids anticipated to be due to the district by the end of March. The board will most likely see those bids in April. 

Other projects close to being ready to go out for bid, most likely later on in the spring, include work at Blades, Point, Rogers and Bierbaum Elementary Schools, as well as the front entrance of Oakville Elementary, which is a separate project from the parking piece.  

Upgrades at Blades include the secure entry vestibule, outdoor lighting and roof and HVAC work. Point and Rogers have similar renovations to Blades, plus the addition of an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant exit ramp at Point and playground/parking safety at Rogers. 

Bierbaum is one of the more extensive Prop S projects, with work slated for a secure entry vestibule, an ADA-compliant entry to the library and four classrooms, ADA accessibility for the boys’ restroom and office, outdoor lighting, additional parking, HVAC work and perimeter fencing.

While each secure entry vestibule will have to be somewhat unique to fit each building, district staff has been having ongoing conversations with architects, engineers and project managers on how to standardize the vestibules as much as possible across all schools. 

“We do have some things that we are going to be doing work during the school year because there’s just no way around it. … Bierbaum is probably going to be our first site where there will be a substantial disruption for 10 plus months because in order to do what we want to do … we’re gonna tear the front end of the building off,” Gaines said. “And we can’t tear it off and rebuild it in the summer. So that one is going to be a substantial disruption.”

Site plans for Trautwein and Hagemann are “well down the road” and will most likely be in the next group of bids. 

So far, the district has incurred almost $2.4 million in expenses, with a little over $35 million remaining.  

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