BY JUDY SHERIDAN
Almost a year after discussions began on plans to expand the Learning Center and create a more secure entry for Aledo High School, the ball is rolling, with construction expected to get under way at the Learning Center by Friday, Nov. 1.
Trustees approved the final step in the process last week, voting to spend $2,394,872 on the construction of both projects combined, with monies to come from a 2008 bond program that has $4 milllion unspent.
The contract ensures a guaranteed maximum construction cost.
Modifying the high school vestibule and rearranging nearby office space, the smaller of the two projects, will start over Thanksgiving and could be finished by the end of the Christmas break, according to Project Manager Derek Herschberger, of construction firm Buford-Thompson.
If not, it will be wrapped up during evening hours, after students have gone home.
“With the security aspects of that, we want to get it done as quickly as possible,” Herschberger said.
The expansion of the Learning Center will take place at the same time, but will take a lot longer, he said, with completion set for August.
Most of the work will take place on the exterior of the center, specifically the north and south ends.
The construction area will be secured with fencing, Herschberger said.
In addition, signs will be posted and monitors will be on duty as much as possible to keep students from walking through.
Buford-Thompson works with school districts exclusively, Chief Financial Officer Earl Husfeld said, and is familiar with safety issues as well as planning around student test schedules.
The school board met in July to finalize design plans for the two projects, settling on a 10,073-square-foot steel frame expansion of the Learning Center, which houses both a dropout and recovery program and a discipline alternative education program.
The expansion will accommodate growth, providing flexible learning spaces, individual work stations and more classrooms.
The design approved for Aledo High School rearranges the entry and reception area. It funnels visitor traffic through the administration’s reception area and adds a security office with full view of the entry corridor.