Royal School Board approves modernization project plans at meeting

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Courtesy Photo - Restoration involved a 2-foot flood cut on all first floor walls and removal of damaged insulation.

ROYAL CITY — The Royal School Board has given the thumbs up on the Design Development schedule, scope and budget for the Red Rock Elementary modernization project.

“We approved the formalities,” said board member Mike Noftle.

Cameron Golightly, project manager at Kennewick based Design West Architects who is spearheading the project, presented the board with various ideas to consider, offering in-depth comparisons in cost effectiveness and design options.

Renovation plans first came about to address damages caused by a flooding that occurred in January of 2017 when a pipe in the school’s fire system broke. The pipe burst on a Saturday allowing water to run for about 24 hours before being discovered that Sunday.

The school then faced the dilemma of implementing a short-term renovation project to make repairs or launching a longer, more extensive renovation and modernization project to completely revamp the school. 

Shortly thereafter, the school district found out it qualified for state grants, which will cover 75 percent of the renovation costs. The district would then cover the remaining 25 percent of the project funding.

With that in mind, district officials opted to make only the necessary repairs needed to finish out the remaining school year, and save as much of the insurance money as they could to put towards the modernization project. With the addition of the insurance and money saved by the Royal School District, it was realized that a complete renovation could be made without cost to taxpayers.

“We carried over as much insurance money as we could,” said Noftle. “We have enough in our capital fund that we don’t have to go for a bond.”

With the renovations, the district intends to bring Red Rock Elementary as up to date as possible as compared to a new building. In order to comply with the grant however, the project must remain within the footprint of the existing building Noftle explained.

Renovations will include updates to technology, reconfiguring for more space, and better accessibility. The tentative floor plan includes the possibility of adding one more classroom. It was also discovered that there is already an existing elevator shaft. Though the elevator itself had never been installed, the district hopes to finally install one in the project said Noftle.

Improving safety at Red Rock is at the top of the priority list Noftle explained.

“We are taking advantage of some of the safety features when we redo this building,” said Noftle. “One of the things we are excited about is reconfiguring the entrance for security purposes.”

The renovations are aimed to last the school an additional 30 years, Noftle said. Construction for the project is set to begin summer of 2018, with the work to be done in phases. The idea is to work from one end of the school to the other. Temporary portable classrooms will be set up to house half of the classes at a time.

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