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School Bond Progress Updates

Following voter approval on April 2, 2013, of a $92.5 million school bond issue to improve facilities, enhance technology and expand career and technical educational opportunities, the Lawrence Board of Education has transitioned from bond planning to implementation.

Bond issue progress updates will be posted here:

September 8, 2014 - The board approved a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract amendment with Nabholz Construction Services in the amount of $7,4436,311 for bond construction at Kennedy Elementary School. Click here to see more images of Kennedy's schematic designs.
Kennedy entrance schematic drawing

August 12, 2014 - Bond Construction Update

July 28, 2014 - The board approved a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract amendment with Nabholz Construction Services in the amount of $6,235,627 for bond construction of the College and Career Center project. This new facility will be located directly next to the Duane Peaslee Technical Center and will open in the fall of 2015.  The approved bid includes just over 15,000 sq. ft. of finished instructional space to accommodate immediate educational programming needs and 18,000 sq. ft. of shelled space to accommodate future program needs.  District administration has collaborated with area community colleges, the Chamber and the Economic Development Corporation to develop programming in Health Care, Biotechnology and Forensic Science, Law, Public Safety and Government, Computer-Integrated Manufacturing and Robotics, Computer and Network Technology, Engineering and Innovation and Design/Build – Construction Technology.  The district is moving forward with hiring additional teachers in the coming months.  Interested candidates, including those with business and industry backgrounds, should visit www.usd497.org/employment to apply and/or learn more about these openings.  For more information on the USD 497 College and Career Center please contact Patrick Kelly at pkelly@usd497.org or 832-5000 ext. 2405.
College and Career Center

June 30, 2014 - The board approved a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract amendment with McCownGordon Construction in the amount of $7,580,425 for bond construction at Cordley Elementary School.

June 9, 2014 - The board approved a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract amendment with McCownGordon in the amount of $7,199,320 for bond construction at Hillcrest Elementary School; a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract amendment with BA Green Construction Co., Inc. in the amount of $2,767,000 for bond construction at Liberty Memorial Central, South, Southwest, and West Middle Schools; and a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract amendment with Nabholz Construction Services in the amount of $3,658,401 for bond construction at Free State High School.

April 24, 2014 - The board approved a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract amendment with Combes Construction, LLC in the amount of $4,844,000 for bond construction at New York Elementary School.

April 14, 2014 - The board approved a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract amendment with McCownGordon in the amount of $2,938,387 for bond construction at Langston Hughes Elementary School.

February 10, 2014 - Architects with Momenta and Sabatini presented initial designs for the new College and Career Center facility to the board. The Center, to be located near 31st Street and Haskell, is being designed to support USD 497’s Career Pathways. The building will enhance career-based learning by: replicating high performance real-world workplace environments; providing specialty labs and studio areas for students to create, share, evaluate and revise thoughtful learning products; facilitating innovation and collaboration by creating venues that encourage creativity, research, ideation, prototyping and testing; offering flexibility space planning, furniture reconfiguration and building systems so that teachers and students can adapt the environment to meet learning goals; promoting a common intellectual mission with transparency between learning environments that encourages “visible learning” and collaborative reflection; and facilitating communication and presentation through robust audio-visual systems. Initial Career Pathways envisioned to be housed in the facility are Technology Solutions, Computer Integrated Manufacturing and Robotics, Health and Emergency Science, Law and Government, Biotechnology and Forensic Science and Integrated Design. A Construction Science program is planned in the Economic Development Corporation's adjacent existing manufacturing building, the Dwayne Peaslee Center.


Watch a video about College and Career Center Programmatic Design.

December 2013 - Architects working with school-based Construction and Design Committees at Kennedy Elementary and Free State High released schematic designs. At Kennedy, an updated safe entry, classroom additions, extended learning space for early childhood education and flexible learning pockets and community space for neighborhood uses are among the features emphasized. At Free State High, plans include an updated safe entry and new functional administrative office space (marked in orange) and renovation of the former administrative office space to add classrooms to support 21st century teaching and learning (marked in yellow). Click to review additional information about upcoming bond project improvements.

November 2013 - What a tremendous opportunity: turning Cordley Elementary, a nearly century-old school, into a 21st century learning environment! Aspects of the renovation and addition include repairing the oldest part of the facility, solving the complex issues of an urban site, adding two classrooms and turning part of the “old Cordley" into a media/technology center. Upon completion, Cordley will preserve and celebrate its history, while supporting current technologies and amenities.


November 11, 2013 - As part of a bond projects work session, the school board previewed an updated schematic design for Hillcrest Elementary and initial schematic designs for Langston Hughes and New York Elementary Schools:

Hillcrest Elementary
A goal of creating a shared experience enabling Hillcrest Elementary to celebrate its global diversity drives the school's re-design. Plans include a new gymnasium, new art room, new music room, new library, expanded learning garden and dining commons (the current gym) and classrooms. Hillcrest students will be educated in a 21st century school that supports sharing and learning about the respective cultures represented there.


Langston Hughes Elementary
Serving a rapidly growing area of Lawrence, Langston Hughes Elementary's enrollment continues to climb. With the addition of five classrooms, the facility will accommodate more than 100 additional students. Cafeteria and site design modifications will accommodate future enrollment growth. Other modifications to the site include traffic flow improvements and additional parking.


New York Elementary
Doubling as a neighborhood community center, New York Elementary's expanded facility includes the addition of two classrooms, an art room, music room and dining commons. The media/technology center will serve as the heart of the school, as well as support after-hours, community uses.

October 28, 2013 - The Lawrence Board of Education last night gave formal approval to re-establishing a standing Boundary Committee to monitor district population shifts and school boundaries and ensure that equity, district growth, budget and transportation issues are considered when recommending boundary changes to the board. Community members interested in serving on the advisory group may want to review the Boundary Committee Guidelines prior to completing a Membership Application, due November 22.

The board also gave the go-ahead to begin negotiations with two firms for construction management services related to the bond issue projects. The district's Facility Planning and Progress Committee, which includes administrators and board members Shannon Kimball and Adina Morse, recommended McCownGordon Construction for Package 1 – Broken Arrow, Cordley, Hillcrest, Langston Hughes, Pinckney, Prairie Park, Quail Run, Sunflower and Sunset Hill; and Nabholz Construction Services for Package 2 – Free State High, Lawrence High, Kennedy, Deerfield, Schwegler and the College and Career Center. Read more about these construction partners in this district news release.

In addition, the board approved an agreement with Professional Engineering Consultants to provide services for the oversight of the technology portion of the bond issue. PEC is a local engineering firm with an established relationship with USD 497. "They will ensure that the district's overarching goals for technology are adhered to and achieved by all design and construction firms involved in implementation of bond projects," said Kyle Hayden, assistant superintendent for business and operations.

10312013_90932_1.jpgOctober 15, 2013 - Bond project architects Gould Evans presented schematic drawings to Hillcrest Elementary's site-based Design and Construction Committee on Monday. The design incorporates input from the school principal and teacher, staff, parent and community member representatives. The theme for Hillcrest's design is "A Shared Journey." Features include a learning garden and special attention given to the Ryan Gray Playground, an accessible community playground located on the Hillcrest campus, seen here on the site plan at left. Hillcrest's schematic designs, a program summary and asbestos reports may be viewed online. Design and Construction Committees continue their work at Langston Hughes, New York, Cordley, Kennedy, Free State and Sunset Hill.

October 14, 2013 - Bond projects manager Dean Youngers told the school board that Hillcrest's site-based Design and Construction Committee may reach consensus on a schematic design for its project this week, while Langston Hughes and New York's school-based committees are not far behind in the process. "A lot of people are taking the work very seriously, which is great, because that's what we want to see," said Youngers, adding that architectural renderings of those designs will soon be available for review on the website. In addition, 11 firms responded to the district's Request for Qualifications for Construction Managers at Risk. The Facility Planning and Progress Committee will interview four firms next week in order to bring a recommendation to the board for hiring two firms. Finally, asbestos reports for each facility have been completed and may be found in "Bond Issue Project Documents," using the link above and at left.

The school board approved re-establishing a Boundary Advisory Committee to monitor district population shifts and school boundary issues, and provide advice to the superintendent and board, as well as to help communicate school boundary matters to the community. The purpose of the Committee is to ensure school boundaries are considered with a lens toward equity, district growth, financial impacts of changes and transportation. Members of the Committee will be appointed by the board, which determined the committee's makeup as follows: two board members, the assistant superintendent of business and operations, the director of administrative services, an LEA teacher representative, a Lawrence city planning representative, a First Student (student transportation) representative and four at-large community representatives. Each member will serve a renewable, two-year term.

29th and Haskell AvenueSeptember 23, 2013 - Saying that they viewed a community partnership as an exciting opportunity, the Lawrence Board of Education unanimously agreed to proceed with plans to construct the USD 497 College and Career Center near 29th and Haskell Avenue. This after the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's Economic Development Corporation and a consortium of local banks decided to purchase the 75,000 square foot HiPer Technology facility at that site for a community career and technical education campus. The landowner, HiPer Real Estate Holdings, has agreed to gift land at the site to the school district for construction of its College and Career Center (See bright orange conceptual rendering at left). The successful April school bond issue included $5.7 million for construction of a 33,000 square foot facility to expand career and technical educational opportunities for high school students. Superintendent Rick Doll notes that the district will control programs and governance for its facility and will collaborate with area colleges, employers and economic development interests to govern and program the other facility.

September 19, 2013 - The school district hosted a community conversation about planning for its new College and Carere Center. About 50 patrons attended to provide feedback about a possible change in location for the Center from district property at Holcom to a site near 29th and Haskell Avenue that is under consideration for a larger career and technical education campus to serve community needs. Administrators continue to discuss with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, its Economic Development Corporation, area community colleges and technical schools and a consortium of local banks a community partnership offering CTE opportunities for high school students, as well as adults and local business and industry. During the public forum, attendees cited more advantages to the Haskell Avenue site and provided input about additional potential CTE programming and partnerships.  

September 9, 2013 - In response to enrollment increases and projections for continued growth, the school board approved a plan to construct 12 additional classrooms and six classroom shells, as follows: Deerfield (3), Kennedy (2), Langston Hughes (2), Pinckney (1), Schwegler (1); Sunflower (3) and the shell for six (6) additional classrooms at Sunset Hill. The additional classrooms will be paid for by using $600,000 in a bond premium that was earned at the time of the first sale of bonds in July, $500,000 of estimated interest to be earned on those bonds during the first year, and an additional $2 million from the district's Capital Outlay Fund. The original bond plan included the construction of 11 new classrooms, so with these additions, the total number of new classrooms grows to 29.

Owner Architect Agreements -The school board approved final contracts with BG Consultants. Agreed upon fees for each project vary dependent upon size and scope, but fall within an average range of 7.25% to 7.5% which is below the budgeted 8%.

College & Career Center - The district received four responses to its Request for Proposals from architectural firms. The Bond Planning and Progress Committee screened and conducted interviews, recommending to the board the selection of Nevius Serig Palmer Architecture of Overland Park, Kan., as the lead architect, working in partnership with Sabatini Architects of Lawrence. A Community Conversation about planning for the College and Career Center will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, September 16, in the Lawrence High cafeteria. The public is welcome.

Construction Management Services - The Request for Qualifications for Construction Manager @ Risk services has been released. Screening, interviews and selection is planned for late September.

Building Construction & Design Committees - School-based Construction and Design Committees have met with architects to provide input at Hillcrest, Langston Hughes, Cordley and New York. Committee meetings will begin soon at Free State, Kennedy and Sunset Hill.

August 12, 2013 - Administration and board representatives on the Bond Planning Committee have continued to engage in the process of developing a plan to successfully proceed with the bond construction projects. Regularly scheduled meetings are now occurring with all architectural and engineering firms and will continue through the planning and design process.

Additional Items of Interest
District Standards - District construction management staff, along with Gould Evans architects and ME Group representatives have held staff departmental meetings and are in the final stages of completing the district construction standards document. Completion is anticipated for mid-September.

Building Level Design & Construction Committees - District construction management staff and Gould Evans architects have held initial meetings with the Hillcrest building-level Design and
Construction Committee consisting of the principal, teachers, classified staff, parents and other neighborhood community members. Other building-level committees for the other early projects will begin to take shape in the coming weeks.

Asbestos Removal - The district received bids from three companies for asbestos abatement services and recommended Terracon Consultants. (Approved by board on August 12, 2013.)

Owner-Architect Agreements - Administration and construction management staff have finalized the contracts with Gould Evans and Sabatini/Hollis & Miller. Agreed-upon fees for each project vary dependent upon size and scope, but fall within an average range of 7.25% to 7.5% which is below the budgeted 8%. (Approved by board on August 12, 2013.)

Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing Engineers (MEP) - Administration, construction management and facilities and operations staff joined the selected architect firms to interview MEP firms. Three engineering firms were selected to join the three architect firms.
Gould Evans  - Smith & Boucher Engineers
Sabatini/Hollis & Miller - Henderson Engineers
BG Consultants - LST Engineers

Construction Management Services - Request for Qualifications for Construction Manager @ Risk services will be sent out prior to the end of the month. Screening, interviews and
selection is planned for September.

College & Career Center - Request for Proposals for architectural firms will be sent out by August 8 with receipt by August 20. Interviews are tentatively scheduled for the first week of September. The district is targeting firms with prior specific experience in the design and construction of technical education program centers. They need not be Lawrence firms.

July 22, 2013 - The school board approved the sale of $36 million in bonds at an interest rate of about 3.8% versus the 4.5% that had been budgeted. "This is really good news!" said board member Randy Masten. This is the first sale of the $92.5 million bond issue that district voters approved in April to improve school facilities, enhance technology and expand career and technical educational opportunities.

Mill levy summar graphDespite stagnant state funding, the board also approved for publication a budget that includes a mill levy decrease for the third consecutive year. The graph at left shows a four-year mill levy summary, including General Fund (statewide), Local Option Budget, Bond & Interest, Capital Outlay, Cost of Living, Adult Basic Education and Special Assessments. The board will conduct its annual public budget hearing at 7 p.m. on August 12.

June 10, 2013 - The Bond Planning Committee, made up of district administrators and board representatives Keith Diaz Moore and Shannon Kimball, has continued to engage in the process of developing a plan to successfully proceed with bond construction projects.

Selection of Architects: The district distributed a Request for Proposals (RFP) for architectural services on May 2, followed by a pre-proposal meeting on May 9 to discuss the RFP and answer any questions. Nine firms responded to the RFP. The Bond Planning Committee screened written proposals and invited six firms to interview: BG Architects – BG Consultants, Inc.; Clark-Huesemann; Gould Evans; Hernly Associates with PBA Architects; Sabitini Architects Inc. with Hollis & Miller; and Treanor Architects. Each firm's one-hour interview included a presentation and question-and-answer session. The Committee used the following criteria to determine the best fit for the established bond construction project packages:
  • Firm’s profile and philosophy
  • Design approach
  • Team members assigned to the project: related project experience, expertise, compatibility
  • Team experience
  • Technology expertise
  • Approach to high performance buildings, 21st century learning and healthy schools
  • Directly related project experience and references
  • Understanding of the project and the client goals
  • Project management methodology
  • Fee structure
  • Budget management and quality assurance

The Bond Planning Committee concluded interviews on June 6 and made recommendations to the board on June 10 to begin negotiating contracts to award packages as follows: Package 1: Gould Evans; Package 2: Sabatini Architects with Hollis and Miller; Package 3: BG Architecture - BG Consultants, Inc.; and Package 4: Gould Evans. Upon successful negotiations, final recommendations will be brought to the board for approval.

Additional Items of Interest
1. District Standards - District construction management staff along with consultants from Gould Evans have held meetings with multiple departments as part of the information gathering process for establishing district construction standards. Staff meetings were held with facilities and maintenance, teaching and learning, technology, and purchasing and food service. The district is assembling that information and will meet with each group a second time to confirm standards. Work with ME Group to establish the district standard for high efficiency buildings also is ongoing .

2. Asbestos Removal - District construction management staff is meeting with firms to start the asbestos and hazardous surveys on each of the buildings that will be receiving the most extensive remodeling work.

3. Legal Assistance - The district has engaged Wyatt Hoch with Foulston/Siefkin Attorneys to assist in contract negotiations and other construction issues that may require legal assistance.

4. Construction Information Management (CIM) - The district has engaged Drexel Technologies for CIM services. They will be setting up the system and training district personnel in the near future.

5. Building Level Design and Construction Committees - District construction management staff has met with those building principals who will be involved in the earlier planned projects in an effort to begin establishment of building-level design and construction committees. The committees will consist of principals, teachers, educational support staff, parents and other school community members.

6. Other Activities and Tentative Timelines
  • Formal board approval of architectural firms and contracts - August
  • Selection of mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineers - June/July
  • Construction Manager At-Risk (CM@R) Request for Qualifications process – August/September
  • CM@R Request for Proposals process – August/September
  • Beginning of building design work for initial projects – July

April 22, 2013 - According to a tentative timeline, the school board will consider a resolution authorizing the first sale of bonds in June with sale approval to follow in July. The Bond Planning Committee and administration are developing district standards and guidelines for the design and construction of 21st century, high performance schools. The committee’s plan calls for the board to consider architect selection recommendations, with an emphasis on using local architecture firms, by June 10.

“The projects we have on the table are pretty complex and each one has its own unique characteristics to it, but particularly when you start talking about 21st century learning, the high performance aspects and the healthy schools initiatives that we want to achieve, there very well might be firms out there that have explored these issues nationally that could partner with a local firm. We don’t want to exclude that possibility that a team approach might enrich the design solutions that we get,” said board member Keith Diaz Moore.

“We’ve gone through an extensive process of thinking about how projects could potentially be grouped and how to effectively manage things to involve multiple firms and stage and phase things so we have the financing and manpower available to do the projects,” said Kyle Hayden, assistant superintendent of business and operations. “We also have some opportunities with our projected enrollment growth. Our bond program includes building some additional capacity, so that will be one of our main focus areas right off the bat.”        

April 8, 2013 - The school board hired a bond projects manager, Dean Youngers, to oversee the scheduling, design construction and supervision of bond issue projects for an annual contracted services amount of $107,000 from bond funds. Youngers has more than 30 years of experience in the commercial construction industry as a supervisor, project manager and operations manager. Most recently, he managed the Manhattan-Ogden school district’s $97.5 million bond program. He previously worked as vice president of Key Construction and superintendent of Eby Construction, both of Wichita.

“Strong leadership will be critical to the completion of bond projects within budget and in a timely manner,” said Superintendent Rick Doll.The board also approved a reorganization of the district's administrative structure to support the bond’s educational programming and technology initiatives by providing instructional support through an engaging curriculum using enhanced technology. Initiatives include the development of a digital curriculum, extension of the blended learning model of instruction, professional development training for teachers and the implementation of Kansas College and Career-Ready Standards (Common Core).

The plan shfits some district administrative positions (curriculum specialists) to Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) and includes the hiring of additional instructional learning coaches. The reorganization reduces the district's current number of administrative positions.

“Our primary mission is teaching and learning. This reorganization will improve professional support for our educators, and in doing so, will increase student achievement,” Doll said. “We want to utilize the skills of expert teachers to design technology-rich classrooms and hire additional learning coaches to provide enhanced professional development for our classroom teachers.”

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Last Modified: Sep 09, 2014

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