At the February meeting of the Forsyth County Board of Education held on Feb. 19, members unanimously approved six different renovation projects to school facilities and vehicles, which were voted for by the public in the 2018 school bond referendum.
The 2018 School Bond, which secured $295,000,000 in funding for the school system, included a long list of construction projects like East Forsyth High School, Don Hendricks Middle School and Poole’s Mill Elementary, but also included funding for renovations at existing system buildings and property that school officials say are vital.
The bond projects now approved by the board of education include:
Bulldog Stadium getting a new look
At the meeting, Forsyth County Schools Chief Facilities Officer Bill McKnight presented the board with a proposal to begin construction on a large-scale project to modify and expand the Forsyth Central High School stadium.
According to McKnight’s presentation, this project will construct a new “Home Field Grandstand Bleacher” where the existing away team bleachers are currently located, a new concessions area with restrooms on the home field side and will renovate and expand the stadium’s visitor-side fieldhouse.
A design drawing of the stadium shows that the project would also revamp the lighting and grounds of the stadium once completed.
McKnight said that they had accepted a $4,777,836 bid for the project from CBI General Contractors, who will begin work on the project in March. The project’s proposed completion date is Sept. 14, 2019, McKnight said.
After the meeting, Forsyth County Schools Director of Communications Jennifer Caracciolo said that this update will bring the county’s first high school’s stadium in line with other newer schools.
North Forsyth High School’s stadium was updated in a previous bond project, Caracciolo said, and the school system has plans to continue updating stadiums around the county as they get older and the county grows. South Forsyth High School is also scheduled to receive modifications to its stadium as part of the 2018 bond project, she said.
School buses air conditioning retrofit
After a presentation by Director of Transportation Mike Satterfield, the board also approved a proposal to begin retrofitting the existing fleet of Forsyth County Schools buses with air conditioning.
Satterfield said that they have accepted a $2,859,247 bid from Yancey Bus Systems to retrofit the 262 buses, in a project that is projected to take 65 weeks.
"As of today, we provide air conditioning to our special needs school buses ... this project is going to provide us with the opportunity to provide air conditioning for all of our students," Satterfield said.
While taking bids for the project, they contacted six different state and regional companies with the capacity to complete the project, Satterfield said, but only Yancey Bus Systems "responded in a way that provided us with confidence that they would have the capacity to complete a project of this size."
“Retrofitting 262 school buses with air conditioning is a big project in the school bus air conditioning world,” he said. “We agreed that the only thing worse than no project would be a bad project."
Each of the 262 buses is scheduled to be outfitted with two air conditioning units and will cool a bus from 100 to 80 degrees in 30 minutes.
Satterfield said that as part of their agreement with the company, Yancey has pledged to dedicate four workshop bays and four technicians who will work Monday through Friday solely on Forsyth County buses, completing four a week.
"There were a number of different vendors that would promise a quicker completion on a project of this size,” he said. “But the reality is four buses a week, based on the number of locations and technicians that Yancey has shared with us, is reasonable and would be standard."
This will be the largest project of its kind in the state, Satterfield said.
The system expects work to start on the project in April 2019, with a completion date near to the start of the 2020-21 school year.
Other bond projects approved:
● Johns Creek Elementary School HVAC replacement – Conditioned Air has been named as the contractor for Phase III of the HVAC replacement project at Johns Creek. According to McKnight, the project will start over the summer, will complete before the start of the 2019-20 school year and will cost $965,834.
● Silver City Elementary School driveway modifications – Jim Dickman Grading Inc., has been awarded the contract to modify Silver City’s driveway with additional vehicle capacity for carpool access and parking spaces. A $397,793 bid was accepted and work will soon commence, set to finish before the 2019-20 school year begins.
● Hill Education Center modifications – HCR Construction Inc., has been awarded a contract to replace new flooring, cabinetry and ADA accessible toilets at the Hill Education Center for a bid of $179,322. Improvements are expected to begin on May 28 and “be substantially complete” by July 15, 2019.
● Sharon Elementary School flooring replacement – DCO Flooring has been awarded a contract to replace flooring at Sharon for a bid of $176,000. The project is expected to start this summer and will take two summers to complete.