In a presentation at Monday's Shawnee Board of Education meeting, Construction Management Consultant Jim Hooper walked the group through several Phase One school bond projects, sharing where crews stand at right now in the process of completing the improvements.

In a presentation at Monday's Shawnee Board of Education meeting, Construction Management Consultant Jim Hooper walked the group through several Phase One school bond projects, sharing where crews stand at right now in the process of completing the improvements.

Hooper said projects that require heavy equipment or are too noisy and distracting — such as security vestibules —will be built during school breaks when children are not around.

Projects are ongoing all over the district:

Avedis Park SMS

With its official grand opening not quite two weeks ago, Avedis Park on Shawnee Middle School campus is complete.

Hooper said the amphitheater is going to be a great venue for the public and the schools to use, as well as the tennis courts and walking trails.


A new security vestibule was put in at SMS.

“They added a new storefront with eight feet of space between the old front and the new one,” he said, “as well as a door into the office.”

To have a good strong base, crews had to cut out the four-inch thick concrete in front of the entrance, he said.

“(Concrete) needs to be bigger and heavier there to handle all the weight,” he said. “So we cut it out and put in rebar and tore out the ceiling.”

That work has been done; all that's left is some finish work, he said.

It's pretty self-sufficient as far as the room goes, he said.

Hooper said the added space helps with energy and security.

“We'll have a security buzzer system put in,” he said.


Hooper said Sequoyah will have two new restrooms refit in the front of the building for kindergartners.

“There used to be two restrooms — that later became storage areas — and now they are going to be restrooms again,” he said. “Also a new security vestibule is going in.”

The new front door will be moved over to the right a little bit and a new secured-vestibule hall, entrance and a couple offices will be built up front, he said.

Roofing materials were put in place behind the school in early June, he said.

“As we started digging on the southwest corner for two new classrooms, we had a problem with the plumbing, because those rooms (already there) all have a sink in them, but none of them would drain,” he said.

The plumber ended up having to dig up the floor and replace the pipes — work that had now been done, Hooper said.

Those areas now have temporary tile, Hooper said, until the new classrooms are complete and the whole floor gets new tile put in.

Crews found a surprise during demo for the restrooms. When a separating wall was taken out, it was discovered that what was thought to be one wall was actually two — one wall that was eight inches wide and another that was six inches wide, and they were misaligned.

“No one knew it, because in one room at a time you couldn't tell they weren't alike until you took it all apart,” he said. “That was a little bit of a challenge.”

Regarding the new construction, Hooper said the site foreman is very watchful of the rules on how fast you can stack block, and they are following them.

“We are very pleased with the way things are going at this site,” he said.

Horace Mann

Hooper said Horace Mann had two portable buildings that had to make way for the construction of two new refuge/safe rooms on the back side of the school.

“We had to start digging after the temporary buildings were removed,” he said, “because a new grease trap and lift system had to be put in farther east of the kitchen.”

All of that was in place before school began the new year, Hooper said.

He said during the digging process crews discovered a finished concrete slab about four feet below the ground.

“We don't know what was under there, but at some point there was something on it,” he said.

Hooper said the plumber also found a variety of PVC, wires, cables and pipes underground in the area for the new grease trap.

“They formed the pad and put in the rebar,” he said. Because they are refuge rooms, they have a lot of concrete and steel all the way around, he said.

“They will be a very safe place,” he said. “Now, there's block being put up.”

A new security vestibule is being constructed, as well.


Kelcy Hunter, with Nabholz Construction, gave the update on the high school's progress.

Work is underway to create the new special needs pod, in a space that was previously the space for the little theater.

“We have completed all the interior framing and drywall and areas that are to become the new concession area,” she said.

Also, the parking lot to the east of the high school is complete — along with striping.

SPS Superintendent Dr. April Grace said she was appreciative of the crews and their work, which is reportedly ahead of schedule.

In a new business item related to the high school construction, it was brought before the board whether to approve a change order to allow crews to move forward with work originally planned for further down the road.

“Basically we are asking to move some money around that was originally planned for Phase Two for some work on the front sidewalk (immediately west of the building),” Grace said. “Renaissance thought the new paving would line up with the sidewalk, but as it turns out, after civil engineering and grading things, we have one end of the sidewalk lower than the paving and the other end is higher than the paving.”

Building a new sidewalk against the building was already planned as part of Phase Two, but now needs to be moved to Phase One, Grace said.

“Since there was good weather and all the equipment is already onsite, the idea was proposed to go ahead and begin some work on the front parking lot instead of waiting until later in September or into October,” Hooper said.

Moving forward with the addition does not affect the bid; it is in accordance with Title 61 standards for cost for a change order on a construction management project, Jonathan Lowrey, senior project manager said.

“If we wait, all work at the front of the building will stop for the next four weeks,” Grace said.

The board unanimously approved the change order.

Watch for updates.