The Wichita school board will take another look Monday at remaining bond projects and could vote on whether or how to move forward with projects at several schools.
At issue is whether the district can afford to build a new auditorium at Robinson Middle School and replace an aging wing of classrooms at Caldwell Elementary.
During Monday’s regular board meeting, Superintendent John Allison and officials with Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, the district’s bond manager, are slated to deliver a financial update on the 2008 bond issue and recommend plans for remaining projects.
More than two years ago, when construction bids were coming in lower than expected and the bond issue was about $9 million under budget, the board approved a concept for a new auditorium and practice gym at Robinson, Second and Oliver. Similarly, board members approved a proposal to rebuild 14 classrooms at Caldwell, near Harry and Edgemoor.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
But cuts to the district’s capital outlay budget and the loss of about $14 million in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency means officials have had to re-evaluate plans at those schools.
In addition, the board approved construction of a new Southeast High School near 127th Street East and Pawnee. The first round of bids for that project, estimated to cost nearly $56 million, will be let in the spring.
Besides Robinson and Caldwell, the only bond projects that remain on hold are Little Early Childhood Center, Sowers Alternative High School and a $10 million technical education magnet program.
The original bond plan for Robinson, projected to cost about $2.3 million, called for a practice gym built as a storm shelter, music classrooms and an auditorium upgrade rather than a new auditorium. Building a new auditorium would increase the cost to about $3.3 million, officials said.
But some parents say the original plan never really addressed needs at the school, which has a nationally recognized instrumental music program. For the past year, Robinson band and orchestra concerts have been held at East High School’s newly renovated auditorium.
At Caldwell, the original bond plan called for a multipurpose room built as a storm shelter, along with student support space and music and art classrooms. That was projected to cost about $1.7 million.
The expanded project, which would replace a large portion of the original 1950s-era building, would cost more than $3 million.
The Wichita school board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in the North High lecture hall, 1437 Rochester.