Construction Update - February 2021
Excitement and anticipation are building as our construction projects at Hickory Elementary, Maple Elementary, Sycamore Elementary, and Avon Middle School South approach the final stages. Take a few moments to scroll through our most recent project photos below and learn more in the question-and-answer section. The students and educators in these schools are headed for some exciting times!
For more info about each photo, click the i icon in the top-left corner.
As the Avon community continues to grow, enrollment numbers in ACSC grow, too. Since we last redistricted at the elementary level a decade ago, elementary enrollment became unbalanced, making it difficult to provide an equitable experience for our youngest Orioles. The 2020 boundary adjustment project will successfully balance K-4 enrollment beginning in 2020-21. But, because of the disparity in the ages of our elementary schools, renovations were required to ensure each school is equally conducive to learning and able to provide ample room for projected enrollment growth.
Our construction partners at Performance Services (more on them below) estimate the cost of building a new elementary school to be about $30 million. However, this estimate does not account for the ongoing cost of staffing a new school with administrative staff, secretaries, assistants, food service personnel, and facilities team members, not to mention teachers.
We chose, instead, to maximize our stewardship of the schools in which Avon taxpayers have already invested. Maple Elementary was built in 1971 and White Oak Elementary was built in 1963. Both schools needed significant work to provide equitable experiences provided in our newer elementary schools. As a result, it was determined to invest more heavily in Maple to expand and renovate. White Oak will not need as significant renovations to serve as a centralized preschool. This $55 Million project requires fewer staff additions and it positions our corporation for growth and learning for decades to come.
We are converting White Oak Elementary into a dedicated preschool building – White Oak Early Learning Center. The renovated and updated preschool classrooms position our developmental preschool and Seedlings program to grow and the re-purposing of the gymnasium into professional development space provides a venue in which to invest in Avon’s educators.
While the footprint of Pine Tree is not expanding, there are updates happening at Pine Tree as well. The media center is being updated to be similar to the media centers at Hickory, Sycamore, and Maple to include more technology and flexible furniture. Additionally, new classroom furniture will provide students with more modern classroom spaces in which to learn.
We are renovating the out-of-date auditorium at AMS South and making major mechanical updates. We are replacing 25-year-old auditorium seating at AHS.
Scroll down to learn more about each project and our construction partners, Performance Services.
Take a closer look at our current building projects by visiting our construction partner’s (Performance Services) website at the following link.
Key Project Objectives Improve program and capacity equity across elementary schools. Maintain the K-8 feeder systems on the north and south sides of the district. Develop spaces within existing elementary facilities to support pedagogy and programming goals. Consolidate and expand the community preschool program.
Beginning in January 2019, the ACSC Board of School Trustees began discussions about renovation projects at several schools. These discussions culminated in two community presentations on May 6 and May 28, 2019 in which a plan was presented addressing elementary programming and district facilities. The major goals of this plan were to:
- Address long-term facility needs
- Support current enrollment and allow capacity for future growth without the construction of a new school
- Provide equitable programs across K-4 schools
- Provide long-term, high-quality program for preschool
- Meet ACSC facility needs with no increase to the taxpayer
As a result of this plan, beginning with the 2021-22 school year, White Oak will become a centralized preschool. Elementary school boundaries will be re-adjusted as ACSC transitions to 6 more equitably-sized elementary schools when school starts in July 2021.
Since those community meetings, the Board and administration have held multiple public meetings discussing design plans for renovation work at several schools. On March 17, 2020, the Board approved renovations at 6 schools to be completed for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
Maple Elementary (built in 1971) will be renovated and significantly expanded to allow it to accommodate approximately 700 students.
White Oak (built in 1963) will undergo a renovation to allow it to serve as a centralized preschool beginning with the 2021-22 school year. Converting White Oak into a centralized preschool is more cost effective than the renovations required to make it an equitable elementary school. Moving preschool to a central location also frees up classroom space at other elementary schools and provides our preschool with a permanent home as it has moved from Cedar, Hickory, Pine Tree, Maple, and White Oak in recent years.
Additionally, the current White Oak gymnasium will be converted to professional development/meeting space. Some classrooms at White Oak will also be used for district occupational and physical therapists, as well allow future growth in preschool.
As a part of this project, parking will be expanded at the ACSC Transportation Facility and a new access drive will be constructed south of White Oak and Maple to allow bus traffic at both buildings to be separated from car traffic.
Hickory Elementary will be expanded to accommodate additional students through the construction of 8 additional classrooms and an expanded media center.
Sycamore Elementary will be expanded to accommodate additional students through the construction of 9 additional classrooms and an expanded media center.
Middle School South & Avon High School
While these schools will not be expanded, there will be important work happening to support students and staff. At Middle School South (constructed in 1958), significant work will occur to improve and update portions of the HVAC system (heating ventilation air conditioning) that are approaching 30 years old and beyond expected service life. This creates uncomfortable learning conditions for our staff and students with inconsistent temperatures at various times of the year. Additionally, work at Middle School South will include painting and new carpet in the performing arts area and updates to the auditorium.
Avon High School is now over 20 years old and the auditorium seats are showing their age. The seats will be replaced in the summer of 2021.
How are these projects being funded?
These projects are critical to address necessary infrastructure updates and accommodate future student enrollment. Over the course of multiple public meetings over the last several months, the ACSC Board of School Trustees has discussed how to fund these projects. In short, ACSC has debt that will be paid off in coming years and has issued additional debt to finance these projects with no impact to the taxpayer.
All debt payments related to this project will be paid out of ACSC’s Debt Service Fund. The Referendum fund will not pay for any portion of these projects.