Austin Elementary School Project Moving Forward

A plan to raze and rebuild the Austin Elementary school took a step closer to getting underway on Monday, March 9, when the Scott County School District 1 School Board hired The Skillman Corporation of Indianapolis to serve a the project construction manager.
Core Corp of Indianapolis was the other firm under consideration.
“A Construction Manager as constructor handles all of the scheduling, logistics, coordinating and inspections of quality during the construction process,” said Dist. 1 School Superintendent Trevor Jones. “The school board is ultimately responsible but this process puts professionals familiar with construction and standards in charge of the daily, hands-on oversight.”
Jones said that the CMc is a process that has been used by school corporations in construction projects for the past few years.
“This puts professionals in the building trades as the school district’s representative on the building site,” he said.
Jones said Skillman has been or is being used as CMc on projects similar in size to Austin Elementary at South Montgomery Schools, Westfield Washington School, and Plainfield Community Schools.
According to the Skillman website the company was founded in 1972, has completed over 700 K-12 projects, over 70 new elementary school projects, and has worked on four projects with Lancer+Beebe, the architectural firm hired by District 1 to design the new Austin Elementary School.
Jones said that there is a higher administration cost for a CMc but their onsite construction presence would save the school corporation on actual construction costs.
The District 1 school board last summer approved a $20 million renovation for Austin Elementary School which includes razing the 1939 two-story brick and the 1950’s single story classrooms and replacing them with a new structure.
Voters in the Jennings Township school district approved a referendum last November to fund the project.
School officials have said that the aging elementary school has been plagued with heating and plumbing issues, and portions had to be shut down and classes moves, owing to original, irreparable pipes.
The campus of the mid-1900s also lacks sufficient student security for the 21st century school safety concerns.
Jones said the new elementary will be energy efficient, provide for improved learning technology and much greater student safety.
The superintendent said current plans are to go to bid later this fall with razing of the 1939 structure in January 2021.
He said there would be a phased demolition and construction.
Students have been moved out of the older two-story school allowing contractors to demolish the building then begin construction of the new elementary.
“When it is complete, students will be moved from the single-story 1950’s classrooms into the new elementary school. Then the single story classrooms will be razed to make way for an elementary playground and additional parking for Rigel Gym events.