Saline Area Schools Superintendent Scot Graden offered an update Tuesday night at the board of education meeting regarding initial progress being made on phase two of bond-related work in the district, the measure as a whole having been approved by voters two years ago.
This time around, Graden said the west entrance to the high school and the adjacent parking lot will see refinements.
“(We’re) not only looking at resurfacing but looking at redesign options that will allow that traffic to flow a little better,” he said, of the lot. “We’re combining the traffic study that was done as well as some other improvements to try and bring better flow in that area for parents and students to move forward.”
Over at the middle school, science classrooms will be modernized.
“We’re looking at renovations and are updating the middle school science rooms, creating better spaces for collaborative use as well as, certainly, updating them and making them more flexible spaces,” Graden said, indicating the district will solicit bids before the end 2018. “We intend to get those projects, as well as other smaller projects including a crosswalk and a couple of other areas, to bid as early as Dec. 1st,” he said.
The district will also seek to partner with the city to bring relief to a particularly busy intersection.
“The left-hand turn light at the corner of Campus (Parkway) and Industrial (Drive), we were out reviewing that and it’s currently in design right now,” he said. “The City of Saline is doing work on Industrial next summer through some Federal grant dollars and our design firm is working with their design firm to make sure what we’re doing is congruent.”
Graden said he will likely seek approval from Saline City Council trustees around late October to have the work completed concurrently with the city’s.
For now, Graden said he and colleagues are taking great care in making sure all projected costs are as accurate as possible.
“We’re really working with Clark Construction to make sure that our estimates are spot on. We don’t want to adjust, go up or down, based on inaccurate estimates,” he said, yet noting the prevalence of price fluctuations on their end. “I certainly feel for them since it’s a pretty volatile environment right now.”
As phase two gets under way, Graden said he wants everyone to know that he and district officials have been cautious stewards of bond funds.
“If you recall back in July we were able to refinance bonds that saved us, the community and the taxpayers and myself, about $2.8 million,” he said, “and so we’re excited to make people aware of that, especially as we get ready to sell our second series.”
Graden said fiscal responsibility has been a hallmark of the process throughout.
“It’s important to communicate to the community that we were given a great deal of trust when they voted yes on this bond back in 2016 and over the last couple of years we’ve completed the work that we said we were going to complete, we’ve stayed on time and under budget and by refinancing more previous bonds we’ve continued to reduce the overall debt burden,” he said.
Graden said he expects to offer a more in-depth bond update at a subsequent board of education meeting later this fall.