Prop S projects continue despite supply chain, budget challenges

Work will begin May 31 on restrooms, entrance at OHS


By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

Despite challenges from supply chain disruptions and higher-than-anticipated costs, work continues in the Mehlville School District on Proposition S projects after the Board of Education approved two Prop S-related bids April 28 and May 10. 

The board approved a $2.76 million bid at its April 28 meeting to outfit the Blades Elementary entrance with a secure entry vestibule, and approved a $918,786 bid for the construction of secure entry vestibules and other safety upgrades at Bernard Middle, Oakville Elementary and Rogers Elementary. Both bids include professional and contingency fees. 

The two projects are part of Prop S, the $35 million no-tax-rate increase bond measure passed by voters in April 2021. The bond is being used to fund facility upgrades and secure entry vestibules across all of Mehlville’s buildings. 

The board previously approved bids for projects scheduled to begin this summer, including HVAC work at Rogers Elementary and Beasley Elementary, roof work at Washington Middle and entrance and restroom upgrades at Oakville High. 

Work is slated to begin May 31 for work on the Oakville High entrance and football stadium restrooms, although the restroom renovations could begin sooner, Superintendent Chris Gaines told the board at the April 28 meeting.  

The board will review bids for work at Bierbaum Elementary in June, which Gaines cautioned would be a significant disruption to daily operations at the school once that construction begins.

“We’re seeing some bidders back out or some contractors say they’re not going to submit a bid. People are busy and they’re not looking for as much work is kind of what we’re hearing,” Gaines said. “But once we get those bids, we’ll kind of analyze where we need to head … Again, that will be another sizable project that will be going on next year and will be a considerable disruption to the functioning of Bierbaum.”

In order to install the secure entry vestibule at Bierbaum, the school will lose its front office, nurse’s office and two classrooms during the construction period. The early childhood care center at Bierbaum will temporarily be moved to Trautwein during that time period as well. 

“All this and the action of the board … has kind of impacted our timelines a little bit. … We’ll have a couple of bid packages that will be bidding in early 2023 … Bierbaum phase two will come after that, Mehlville High School shortly after that and lastly Beasley and John Cary, and we moved Point into that package with Wohlwend and Oakville Middle,” Gaines said. “We’ll also have a bunch of projects that we’ll be bidding next winter that will be kind of the smaller summer (2023) projects … so we got some roof work, as well as work on HVAC.”

The district is able to get some additional funding for the projects through utilizing money from its capital fund, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief money, and past ballot propositions. 

Earlier in April, the board approved a resolution authorizing the district to use additional funding sources for the projects. 

There was also some prior discussion about hiring an outside company to act as a project manager, as well as the option of hiring an individual to be an “in-house” project manager to oversee the project list and ensure projects are completed properly so money isn’t wasted having to redo anything. Staff talked with other districts to compare how they handle their facilities and capital projects. 

“As we’ve done research and talked to other districts … just the notion of whether or not we would do an outside company versus hiring an individual to kind of be our in-house owner/rep on projects,” Gaines said. “We’ve talked to a couple of districts who … have moved to the in-house, that has been more cost-efficient for them, so that may be something to consider.”

As of April 28, the district has expended about $2.6 million in Prop S funds, with $34.79 remaining.