In November of 2018, a majority of District 207 voters approved a measure to borrow $195 million to improve safety, update infrastructures and improve learning environments at Maine East, Maine South and Maine West. District 207 administrators have already begun working on timelines and plans for the initial phase of the long-term work that will be completed with referendum funds and money from the district’s fund balances. In the next few months, the District will be assembling the team that will help in the construction and bond sales. Those teams include:
- Architect – The District will be meeting with the architect it hired in 2016 to oversee the Master Facility Plan. Wight & Company architects were one of seven firms that applied two years ago for District 207’s Request for Qualifications. A committee, that included representation from the Board of Education, interviewed five firms and selected Wight to complete the Master Facility Plan, given their extensive experience with comprehensive high schools in the area. Elara Engineering will serve as the engineers on the project working directly for Wight & Company.
- Construction Manager – The District is working on the Request for Proposal for Construction Management Services. It is anticipated that the Construction Manager selection process will take until the end of January, with targeted Board of Education approval in February.
- Financial Advisor – The District is working on the Request for Proposal for Financial Advisor Services related to the issuing of bonds. It is anticipated that the Financial Advisor selection process will take until the end of January, with targeted Board of Education approval in February.
Once the full team is assembled, a timeline for construction and staging will be developed. This timeline will incorporate the design process and strategies, as well as the construction phases. It will also include securing the needed permits and ensuring proper planning to accomodate students with disabilities during the construction phase.
The District is planning on tracking the construction progress with regular updates, information and photos on the District’s website and through other communication methods to ensure continuation of transparent communication. There will be a 12-18 month design phase that will precede construction.
Here is a draft of projected key dates:
Project Design Phase (February 2019 – May 2019)
- The architect, construction manager and district team will have a series of meetings with each school, department and area. Preliminary designs will be shared and refined.
- The design will be broken into phases, likely with multiple projects at each school for each phase.
Construction and Upgrades (Early 2019-2023 or 2024)
- It is highly likely that as soon as designs are complete work on the additions and secured entrances will begin.
- Phases are needed as there is too much construction and too many upgrades to complete in a short period of time. Much of the work will occur during the summer. However, there will be a need for some work to occur during the school year and this will involve major coordination from many areas.
It is important to note that the district will likely sell bonds at several times over the next few years. Bond funds must be used within three years of when they were borrowed, but given the long-term nature of the projects, that means the borrowing will likely be done in stages.
While recognizing there will likely be some school disruptions due to the work, the district is committed to minimizing those interruptions. This will include having work completed when school is not in session and when work must be completed during the school day, ensuring the plans are in place to minimize disruptions.