Cobb BoE to pick managers for 3 school projects
by Hannah Morgan
February 02, 2014 12:04 AM | 4271 views | 4 4 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two Cobb Board of Education delegates as well as representatives from Walton High School were on hand Saturday to meet and discuss the school revamping project that should break ground later this year with money from SPLOST IV funds. They are, from left: David Banks, BOE member; Vonda Shoemaker, parent and president of the Walton Facilities Foundation; Scott Sweeney, Cobb BOE member who represents the Walton district; Judy McNeill, Walton principal; and Patti Morgan, parent and a board member of the Walton Facilities Foundation. <br> Staff/Jeff Stanton
Two Cobb Board of Education delegates as well as representatives from Walton High School were on hand Saturday to meet and discuss the school revamping project that should break ground later this year with money from SPLOST IV funds. They are, from left: David Banks, BOE member; Vonda Shoemaker, parent and president of the Walton Facilities Foundation; Scott Sweeney, Cobb BOE member who represents the Walton district; Judy McNeill, Walton principal; and Patti Morgan, parent and a board member of the Walton Facilities Foundation.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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MARIETTA — Three Cobb schools will be revamped with a number of construction projects in the coming four years, and the Board of Education is expected to select construction managers for the projects at a meeting Monday.

Wheeler High School, Walton High School and Teasley Elementary School are in line to be renovated or rebuilt with SPLOST IV funds.

The 1-cent sales tax was approved by voters in March, and collections for projects began coming in this month, said Nick Parker, the director of SPLOST for the district.

The district is expecting to rake in $717.8 million in the next five years.

Wheeler High School

Wheeler students can expect to have a new gym, performing arts theater and home side seating in its football stadium by July 2 through 16, said Chris Ragsdale, the deputy superintendent of operational support for the district.

The district bid out the construction project this fall, and by October, 15 construction groups had responded, according to the board agenda for Monday’s meeting.

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa has asked the board to select Atlanta-based Balfour Beatty Construction to design and build Wheeler’s updates.

Roughly $20 million of SPLOST IV funds have been earmarked by the district to be spent on Wheeler’s construction, Ragsdale said, of which $10,000 is to be spent on designing the new school and setting an exact construction cost.

As soon as the board approves the construction group, Ragsdale said the design process would be underway, with construction to follow within the 2014 school year.

Walton High School

Future Walton students might be using bridges to get to class by July 2017, if all goes as planned at Walton’s east Cobb campus.

The school, built in the late 1970s, is in need for some major improvements, said school Principal Judy McNeill.

“We’re very, very excited for a new school. Walton was built very quickly as Cobb County was growing at such a fast pace,” McNeill said.

Thirty years later, the school is outdated, haphazardly designed and crowded, she said.

In October, McNeill said Walton had 2,730 students, too many for the space they have.

It was more expensive to go throughout the school and make all of the needed adjustments than just build a new school, McNeill added.

The entire school is expected to be rebuilt, starting this May, said McNeill, and will include a bigger orchestra room and auditorium than students have now, as well as a separate building for classrooms, connected to the rest of the school by bridges.

Roughly $40 million has been set aside with projected SPLOST IV funds to pay for the new building, according to Monday night’s agenda.

The board will decide Monday whether or not to go with Hinojosa’s recommendation to hire Atlanta-based Gilbane Building Co. to design and build the new school.

Twelve construction companies submitted bids for the project, according to Monday’s agenda.

Dirt will be moved and construction is expected to begin this May, but the school is not planned to be completed until July 2017, McNeill said.

The new school is planned to be built where the softball diamond and tennis courts are now, and construction will go on while Walton students continue to use their current building, she added.



Teasley Elementary School

Teasley Elementary School, which reported having 740 students in 2012, is quickly growing, Ragsdale said.

When SPLOST IV plans were being drawn up in last year, Teasley was tagged to get a 10-classroom addition. This August, an additional 10 classrooms had to be added to the plans in order to accommodate the student growth at the Smyrna school, Ragsdale said.

In addition to the new classrooms, Teasley students will soon have a new gym and a bigger cafeteria and kitchen, according to the district.

Eighteen construction companies bid on the Teasley project, and Atlanta-based Balfour Beatty Construction was also selected to make the changes to the school, according to Monday’s agenda.

Hinojosa has asked the board to approve hiring Balfour Beatty, who is charging $10,000 to design and plan the school additions as well as set an official cost of the construction.

Roughly $3 million of SPLOST IV funds was earmarked for Teasley’s upgrades, but Ragsdale said the change in plans and additional 10 classrooms to be built will increase the estimated cost to $13.3 million.

Construction is expected to begin as soon as possible, within the school year, Ragsdale said. The district was waiting for the board to approve the construction manager before plans could be made.

The school improvements are anticipated to be complete by July 2015, Ragsdale said.

Comments
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John West
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February 03, 2014
It's amazing how the CCSD throws money at schools projects only to redo those improvements 10-15 years later. Time to stop the cycle of waste and close the old schools that require constant upkeep money.
anonymous
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February 03, 2014
Would someone please look at how many millions have been spent at Walton, in recent years. Just two summers ago they spent 2-3 million and now they are just going to tear it down? Talk abouit poor management
longtimeacoming
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February 03, 2014
You obviously didn't attend Walton or you would be smart enough to draw your own conclusion. They have tried desperately for years to improve and expand and remodel and stick band-aids on that dump. Yes, they spent 2-3 million about 5 years ago and the droves of students kept a comin'. New homes are constantly being built in the Walton district. Walton alum are moving back into the area so their children can attend this school. It is simply busting at the seams and there is no where else to expand. They tried to do it the least expensive way but now there is no choice but to rebuild. It's about time and I'm happy for the future students of Walton.
finallyhappening
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February 03, 2014
What are you trying to imply? Walton should've been torn down and rebuilt years ago but always got shoved down the priority list. Not to be conceited but it really is one of the shining stars when it comes to the top schools in the county. There are many nice schools who bring national recognition to Cobb County and Walton is at the top of that list.

The school was built in the mid 70's after that stupid California model that there should be large, open classrooms with 125 students that learn and love together. What a bunch of bunk. Of course it didn't work so they took those rooms and chopped them into other rooms so many didn't have windows or ventilation and you had to cut through and disrupt classrooms to get to another class.

Next thing you know, more houses are being built and young families moved to the Walton district so their kids could attend Walton. They were already at capacity so quick attempts to expand just weren't enough. They will now do it the correct way and get a school that will be around for many decades.
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