Grant and Lincoln Montessori elementary schools are set to undergo accessibility and security renovations after the Norfolk Public Schools Board of Education passed two construction bids Monday night.
The board accepted two bids from J.H. Hespe Co. in Norfolk and Otte Construction Co. in Wayne. The two projects, totaling about $3.06 million, will begin this summer and should be finished by June 2022.
“We will have what I call a contractual meeting hopefully by next week, where we establish a contract, and then I’m usually push-hard,” said Bill Robinson, associate superintendent. “I need to see timelines; I want them by mid-May.”
J.H. Hespe Co.’s bid was accepted at $1,270,600 for renovation and an addition to Grant Elementary.
The school has several accessibility issues, Robinson said. It only has a chairlift to go between floors, so the project will include installing an elevator. Restrooms on both floors also will be upgraded to improve accessibility.
Robinson said administrators want “the safety and security standards up to par.” When people enter the building, they have to push a button and a camera determines if they can come in.
The project will include a new entrance that allows visitors to come into an entryway and approach a transaction window to talk to office staff before entering the school.
The board of education also accepted Otte Construction Co.’s bid for $1,798,300 to renovate Lincoln Montessori Elementary.
While the school has an elevator, the principal’s office is on a landing so it’s not ADA-compliant. The secretary is in the hallway. The project will be moving the school office to the main level and create a similar secure entrance like Grant’s.
The reassembly will allow for extra space to move the school’s media center and add a second track to make Lincoln Montessori a two-track school.
Both projects were originally in Norfolk Public Schools’ bond issue proposal before it was put on hold because of the pandemic. Administrators decided to move forward with the Grant and Lincoln projects due to the accessibility and security issues.
Robinson said the district has enough money to move forward with the projects. Both are being funded from qualified capital purpose undertaking funds, which are established to address environmental hazards, code violations or accessibility barriers.
Some money also will come from depreciation and the district’s special building fund.
“We are having school in session, and that’s my job, to be done by next summer, to have it up and ready to go,” Robinson said. “With construction as you know, you have intent and you have the reality. So I have to make sure that intent becomes reality.”
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