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Phoenix-Talent schools: Let the work begin

Work will begin this summer on a new wing at Phoenix High School under a $68 million bond measure. Other summer projects will take place at the Phoenix-Talent School District’s Talent Middle and Orchard Hill Elementary schools.

A ground-breaking ceremony will be held at the high school at 6 p.m. June 10. Voters approved the construction bond measure in fall 2017.

A rebuild of the high school is the major project, budgeted at $48 million. The new, two-story wing will be built south of the current structure. Students will continue classes in the current location, then shift to the new wing in December 2020. Much of the old building will be demolished, but about a third, including the gym and theater arts area, will be renovated.

Adroit Construction of Ashland will oversee work on the high school. The project will be split into three parts, the first being site preparation and framing of the new wing. Bid requests for that work by subcontractors were sent out last week.

A second phase, finishing of the new 100,000-square-foot building, will go to bid in late July. ORW Architecture of Medford, working with the district and Adroit, completed design and plans for the new structure in late April.

Renovation of the gym and theater arts area, which will total 56,000 square feet, is expected to go to bid this fall. The district received $2.5 million from Business Oregon’s Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program for critical public buildings such as schools and emergency services facilities, which will be used to fund part of the renovation cost.

The district also received a $143,308 Blue Sky grant for installation of solar panels on the roof of the high school. Another grant to help pay for solar work is also being sought.

“Construction costs have gone up considerably since we went out for the bond,” said Jon McCalip, district facilities and projects director. “We are using these monies to offset the rising construction costs.”

Work on a cafeteria addition at Talent Middle School will begin June 17 and is scheduled to be finished when school resumes in September. Outlier Construction of Medford was awarded the $455,600 contract for the work.

Design work is still taking place for updates to the middle school mechanical systems, seismic improvements and installation of a new roof. The overhauls will go to bid in October, and work timelines have yet to be determined.

A new playground will be created at Orchard Hill Elementary in preparation for construction of a new cafeteria that will occupy current playground space. A $98,500 grant from MRC Gametime will cover the cost of playground equipment and installation by Playcraft. Site work for the new playground will be bid separately next week. Work is scheduled to be finished by the start of school in September. Cafeteria construction should begin in January 2020 and be finished by August of that year. Bids will be sought in August.

Approximately $170,000 will be spent on projects such as painting, carpeting, fence replacement and other improvements throughout the district. A construction excise tax is providing money for the work.

Last summer, security systems were upgraded at Talent and Phoenix elementary schools under the bond measure. Security measures at other schools will be enhanced as other work is performed. New roofing and updated heating and cooling systems were also included for district schools under the bond measure. Energy saving projects such as lighting upgrades have also been implemented.

“Our elementaries are getting some major upgrades,” said district Superintendent Brent Barry. “We are going to be set up for many, many years.”

HMK Company of Central Point has been retained by the district to assist McCalip with management of the bond-funded projects.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

Talent Middle School advisory class students fill backpacks with supplies for Camp Fire victims last fall. The middle school will get a new cafeteria under the bond. Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune