by Jim Boyle
After nearly three years of planning, imploding bid climates and one last hiccup when news of a declining birth rate called the Parker Elementary School remodel into question, the Elk River Area School Board has awarded bids to have the project completed.
“It will be an exciting time for our students, parents and staff,” said Parker Principal Mike Malmberg. “ It is a much-needed project.
The bid was awarded to Ebert Construction in Corcoran, which had the lowest bid of $5,898,800. There were seven other bidders.
The project was initially viewed as a $5.3 million project, but the last two bids came in well over $6 million.
The money will come from the district Alt Facilities budget, which has $6,950,000 in the budget. The next step for the Elk River Area School Board will be to consider what to do with its plans to finish the Handke Family Center renovation. A decision on that could come later this month.
Malmberg said the Parker remodeling project will do several things for the school, including:
•Provide a more secure front entrance, with the main office being located at the front.
•Switch to closed individual classrooms, which will help reduce noise and distractions for learners and also a more secure setting in case of a lockdown situation.
•Provide bigger student lockers that will be placed outside of the classrooms in the hallway that will better meet the students’ needs.
•Increase in the number of staff offices which will reduce the number of shared offices.
•Updated media center and computer lab that will help with instruction.
Much of the project, of course, is to bring outdated mechanical systems up to date. The project work will commence at the end of the school year.