Osceola Schools seeking architect for $30.7M middle school reconstruction

Osceola County Schools is seeking an architectural and engineering firm for the $30.7 million reconstruction of St. Cloud Middle School.

The district posted a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) this week for the project, the third school reconstruction in the last two years.

Construction is already underway on the new Michigan Avenue Elementary School, which shares a 63-acre campus with SCMS. Both schools were built in the early 1970s and were included among the projects to be funded by a voter-approved half-cent sales tax.

"We're in construction for the elementary school. They're coming out of the ground now," Chief Facilities Director Marc Clinch told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday.

The school district went through a similar RFQ process for that project last year, selecting Song+Associates as the architect and Clancy & Theys as construction manager at risk. The new $21 million elementary school is scheduled for completion in early March 2019. 

"The new building will be completed when the students return from Spring Break," Clinch said. "Then we'll be able to demolish the old building and build out the remaining site amenities." 

When it's finished, the MAES project will be designed to accommodate 946 students. It will also share a new detached kitchen and cafeteria building with the middle school. The cafeteria will have a movable wall separating younger and older students.

"So now we're doing the sister the project -- the middle school," Clinch said. "It's not a prototype, it's not going to be something they can pull off a shelf. We do try to incorporate prototypical components so they don't have to design everything from scratch."

The new school building will be built adjacent to the dining facility, making the campus more compact. The district also plans to retain and renovate an existing two-story classroom building, the gymnasium and the band building. 

Clinch said the design theme should be a continuation of the elementary school project. "We want them to tie in together aesthetically. Once we select the design professional, we'll go out for Construction Manager so they can be involved in the design phase."

The project timeline calls for construction to start on the middle school in February 2019, just as its wrapping up on the elementary school. The new SCMS would be completed in December 2020, allowing students to move to the new school following the winter break.

The final phase, which includes demolition of the existing school, renovations of existing buildings and site improvements, would be completed in April 2021. The replacement school will be designed to accommodate 1,408 students. 

"The main challenge on any project these days is the civil (engineering)," Clinch said. "Back in the day, they didn't design anything with stormwater retention, but of course we have to retain all our water on site."

In addition to shared dining and parking facilities, the two schools will share a common bus loop and central energy plant. "This provides significant first-cost and operational costs savings to the district," Clinch said.

Qualification packages are due to the district's purchasing office by May 3. 

SCMS is one of two 1970s-era round middle school buildings slated for replacement. Denn John Middle School in Kissimmee is its twin, and that school already has a replacement in the final design stage and slated for construction June 1.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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