BCSC outlines plans for school renovations

Photo by Brad Davis | The Republic Improvements for Mt. Healthy Elementary are shown on a vision board.

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. board members heard what will be included during Phase 1 of the “Envision 2030” facilities plan during a strategic planning session Monday.

BCSC Director of Operations Brett Boezeman went over the recommended project schedule during a presentation.

BCSC officials have proposed the following projects as part of the “Envision 2030” plan:

  • A new westside elementary school.
  • Renovations to remaining elementary schools (excluding Parkside and Schmitt, where work is already underway).
  • Significant renovation at Northside Middle School and tech/equipment updates at Central Middle School.
  • Additions and renovations to both Columbus North and East high schools to meet career and technical education demands.
  • Physical education/extracurricular expansions at the two high schools to meet demands.
  • Relocation of Bright Beginnings Early Learning Center to the R.L. Johnson Building, relocation of Columbus Virtual Pathway to the McDowell Education Center, and relocation of C4 Cosmetology to expanded space at East.

The board authorized school officials to issue up to $306 million in bonds for the upgrades in December.

Construction will take place during three phases over a period of five years, Superintendent Jim Roberts said.

“This would be phase one in the various projects we’d like to see started really as soon as possible, with the planning beginning this ‘24 calendar year and construction starting as soon as possible following that planning time,” Roberts said.

Boezeman noted that that not all of the eight projects included in Phase 1 will be completely finished by Phase 2 “but most of them are being addressed,” he said.

The first project in Phase 1 is the relocation of Bright Beginnings Early Learning Center to the R.L. Johnson Building “where space is available to allow for the expansion of the daycare program,” a presentation slide read. The estimated cost is $1.36 million and the estimated start date is 2024.

McDowell Education Center will be the new home for Columbus Virtual Pathways once CVP’s previous lease sunsets, according to Boezeman. The estimated cost of that is just over $1 million with an estimated start date of 2026.

Next up is the new west side elementary school, the 12th in the district, which will be on a 23-acre site along Tipton Lakes Boulevard, south of State Road 46. The estimated cost is $59.82 million with a start date of this calendar year.

“That is in our first phase here in order to allow us to get that building filled and take some pressure off some of the other buildings that serve the west side,” per Dr. Boezeman.

About 650 students will attend the school, set to open during the 2027-2028 school year. Grade level classroom groupings will be based on the renovations at Parkside.

BCSC is receiving support from the Cummins Architectural Foundation for the project. Boezeman said they have a list of four design architects that Cummins has submitted for them to choose from, three of which were considered for the new air traffic control tower at Columbus Municipal Airport. The chosen design firm will work alongside CSO Architects which is helping with the construction portion.

“They’re familiar with Columbus and they’ve been here and they are immensely excited,” Boezeman said.

Potential design firms will come to Columbus in late March to present their ideas for the new school during public presentations. The school board will officially approve the selection on April 15.

Phase 1 will also see C4 expansion at North and East to meet increased demand in health sciences. The cost is just above $3 million and encompasses renovations to the nursing classroom and dental lab and prep area and the creation of a second Project Lead the Way bio-med lab, among other improvements. The estimated start date is 2027.

Central Middle School “does not need a tremendous amount of work,” Boezman said, but will undergo renovations to the media center, an upgrade to an existing lab that will be converted to a 21st century STEM lab and some new furniture.

The estimated cost of those improvements is approximately $1.95 million and the estimated start date is 2025.

Northside Middle School was referred to as a “high priority site” in need of full renovation. The estimated cost is $50.25 million with an estimated start date of 2025.

CSO’s Jim Funk said Northside is the largest of the projects that isn’t a new building.

“The original part of that school is showing a lot of age and it really has not been touched since it was built 16 years ago,” Funk said.

The scope of work is partly comprised of the creation of a performing arts/multi-purpose space, classroom renovations and new collaborative learning spaces.

Smith Elementary is another high priority site in Phase 1 that is requiring renovations. The estimated cost is $20.2 million with the money in part going towards a new dedicated STEM Lab, new instructional furniture and technology and various classroom renovations.

Funk described their goal for Smith as making “the least collaborative building into a collaborative building.”

The final project included in Phase 1 is the third site named as high priority — Mt. Healthy Elementary. The school will undergo about $8 million in building renovations.

Boezeman said starting this week they will offer potential construction managers as constructors (CMc) request for partnership packages for Phase 1.

The packages are split into three:

  • CMc Package #1 includes Northside Middle School and CNHS
  • CMc Package #2 includes Smith Elementary and CEHS
  • CMc Package #3 includes the new west side elementary school

“The firms will have the opportunity to bid on one package or two or three or any combination of those,” Boezeman said. “These we think are mutually beneficial (in) three ways really — one for the district and fiscally for taxpayers, two for the construction manager firms and three for local labor which obviously as a priority of ours (is) to make sure we have local laborers on these projects to the extent possible.”

The plan is for the recommended CMc to come before the board for approval on April 15 and to have the subsequent contract approval on May 13.

The information shared during the presentation will be presented once again with additional detail on the new elementary during the next scheduled school board meeting on March 4, Boezeman said.