Construction of a 54,000-square-foot replacement for Eagle Point's Little Butte Elementary School will begin in April, and students will move in by spring break next year, officials say.

Construction of a 54,000-square-foot replacement for Eagle Point's Little Butte Elementary School will begin in April, and students will move in by spring break next year, officials say.

The Eagle Point School District on Wednesday selected Bend-based Kirby Naglehout Construction Co. to build the new school for nearly $8.2 million. Kirby Naglehout bid the lowest price at about $152 per square foot. The total cost including design and other fees will come to about $200 per square foot. That's about 22 percent less than the average price to build a school, said David McKay, director of the Project Solutions group at the Willamette Education Service District in Salem. McKay was hired to help plan the project and reduce costs.

"I've built schools all over the state," McKay said Thursday. "This is really phenomenal to be able to build this high quality of a building for this price."

The other bidders included Adroit Construction Inc. of Ashland, Robinson Construction Co. of Hillsboro and Todd Construction Inc. of Tigard.

Although the new school will take Little Butte's student body, it will not take the name. The new name will be Hillside Elementary School.

Medford's Batzer Construction Inc. has already done about $227,420 in ground work for the building, and about $514,000 has been spent on the school's design.

Designed by Bend's BBT Architects, the school will be built next to and replace the 80-year-old Little Butte School, 12 N. Shasta Ave., which is over capacity and lacks modern conveniences such as centralized heat and air conditioning. The money to build the school comes from an insurance settlement after a fire at the old Eagle Point Junior High School.

Constructed of masonry with metal siding, the school will have four classroom wings, each with six classrooms, and a central activity room conjoining the classrooms. That design is a relatively modern adaptation to a concept known as learning communities, which promotes interaction and collaboration between teachers and classes and group activities.

The ceiling of each activity room will have a skylight to bring in natural light. The school also will have a conjoined cafeteria and multi-purpose room, which doubles as a gymnasium. A library and administrative office will be in the center of the building, with classroom wings radiating out.

The building will incorporate some energy-efficient features such as occupancy-sensored lights and plenty of natural light to save on lighting expenses, McKay said.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or email pachen@mailtribune.com.