SMITHVILLE — The Smithville School Board has approved approximately $8.6 million for construction of the Smithville Activity Center.
According to Robert Hedgecorth, executive director of support services, the bids were under budget and the district set aside emergency funds of about $331,000.
The expected groundbreaking should take place next month.
Hedgecorth said the district relied on the DLR Group, the architects and JE Dunn Construction, the construction manager, for their expertise on the project. About 26 companies submitted bids for various aspects of the job, from concrete and steel to paint, flooring and fencing.
“It is expected that the building will be closed by October this year, which will help solve the weather problems of late autumn and winter,” he said. “Completion of the building is scheduled for May 2022.”
Hedgecorth said the building’s master plan, which began in 2019 with help from DLR, the community, students and staff, has shaped the direction of recent improvements.
“This needs assessment was done in each building,” he said. “In high school, we need more space in the gymnasium. We can’t even really have congregations. Then there is the need for accessibility.
The new building will help make the weight room more accessible with classes that attract more than half of the high school population, he said.
“The extra space would also allow our wrestling teams to all train in one place,” Hedgecorth said. “This gymnasium was originally built in 1969. With the addition of women’s wrestling, we need space to use.”
Hedgecorth added that the new facility will provide changing rooms for visiting teams, which currently use a track storage shed.
“It’s very insufficient, but we will help those who come for football, soccer and athletics,” he said. “It’s even close enough for the softball field.”
The center will also have a kiosk. The two-story facility will have a lower level furnished with the weight room, lockers, workout rooms and coaches’ offices. The upper level will have wrestling mats, more coaches’ offices, restrooms and a concession.
There will be a dedicated walkway between the school facade and the new building.
“For those concerned about the Warrior Courtyard, the S will return to this facility,” Hedgecorth said.
Added Eagle Heights
In other update news, the addition of six classrooms at Eagle Heights Elementary will be complete by the end of June.
The need for six additional classrooms was identified during the construction of the school. Construction will be completed in time for the 2021-22 school year, Hedgecorth said, and cost about $3.4 million.
“Warrior Preschool will also go to school,” he said, “really emphasizing the need for space.”
The theme for last year’s bond issue was fairness, affordability and security, Hedgecorth said. To accommodate this, playgrounds are also being redone to meet ADA requirements. Completion of this project is scheduled for August of this year.