Hammer Complex upgrades soon to be put out for bids

Published 10:47 pm Monday, August 6, 2018

Check boxes for the to-do list on Albert Lea Area School’s Hammer Complex upgrades are becoming more concrete as the new school year inches closer. For the district, this means one thing: Construction is coming.

According to Deputy Superintendent Lori Volz, the next box to be checked is the bidding process. The overall project is being bid out in chunks to get best pricing.

“That way, certain contractors that specialize in certain types of things would just bid on that,” Volz said.

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Date targets for bid timelines, Volz said, come this fall. She said she expects bids to be let for the Albert Lea High School gymnasium HVAC and pool locker room finishing touches, Hammer Complex upgrades and Halverson school’s gymnasium expansion in October, November and December, respectively.

Volz said the district has already moved through the schematic design phase and is currently in the design development process, where it will be in through mid-August.

“By the end of next week, the architect will be ready to be developing the construction documents that would be used for the bid specifications,” Volz said.

Construction bid specification documents will be developed through October.

Volz said the project portion that will take the most time to get developed is the softball, baseball and soccer field work, whose estimated construction would begin in late May and, according to Volz, may not be ready for spring 2020 sports.

School board member Mark Ciota asked whether there would be a backup for a 2020 softball tournament location. District Superintendent Mike Funk said he feels confident the school district could work something out with the city.

According to Volz’s estimated construction timeline, project chunks include:

  • The turf football field, whose construction would start May 20, 2019, and finish Aug. 1, 2019.
  • Softball, baseball and soccer field work and softball complex, which would begin May 28, 2019, and whose completion date depends on turf.
  • Bleachers, concessions stand and parking lot, which would start May 28, 2019, and reach substantial completion by Aug. 28, 2019.
  • The field house, for which contractors will have their pick on the start date but would be be completed by Sept. 1, 2019.

In other action:

  • The elementary, middle and high schools presented changes made to their respective handbooks. Lakeview Elementary School Principal Nick Sofio said the handbook changes reflected a language cleanup to bring the handbook together more cohesively and increase readability and user friendliness. They updated attendance and absence information, bus information, emergency school closing information, homework information, media center information, recess information and school counselor and social worker information. Funk asked whether the handbook had been translated for parents. Director of Elementary Services Mary Jo Dorman said it had not. Funk suggested the district speak with its elementary school success coaches about having the handbook translated.

For Southwest Middle School, Principal Chris Dibble said attendance and dress code sections were updated. He told the school board to expect more complete policy changes next year, after he and the assistant principal have had a year with it. This will be Dibble’s first year as principal at Southwest Middle School.

High school Principal Mark Grossklaus said handbook changes at the high school included clarifications on school dance expectations, tardiness language and plagiarism. Grossklaus said the high school is working to be more proactive in combating plagiarism. The handbook update included e-learning policies.

  • Schedules for kindergarten, sixth-grade and eighth-grade orientation days were shared. Orientation for all three grades will be Aug. 20. Grossklaus said this orientation day is important for eighth-graders by bringing them into a less crowded environment for their first day in.

“Getting the eighth-graders one day early changes the whole year for those eighth-graders,” he said.

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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