The plan is starting to come into focus for Yuma School District-1.

The Yuma-1 Board of Education came to a consensus on what facility upgrade plan to pursue, Monday night during a board work session at the district office.

It entails building a new wing at Yuma High School, upgrading the current classrooms, moving transportation into the current ag education building, doing some ADA upgrades in The Pit, and upgrades to the junior high wing at Yuma Middle School, as well as reconfiguring the student drop-off area in front of YMS and Morris Elementary.

That is the first phase.

The second phase would focus on building a new wing at YMS, and demolishing the wing that was built in the 1950s that currently houses grades 5-6, the kitchen and the lunch room. It also would include some more remodeling at YHS, a possible classroom edition at the south end, reconfiguring student parking, and doing some reconfiguring work for music at Morris Elementary and the preschool. The second phase would be at least five to 10 years down the road.

All board members were in attendance at Monday’s meeting, along with Superintendent Dianna Chrisman, and Neenan Archistruction’s Andrew Garside. Neenan’s David Kurtz and BEST Grant regional representative Jay Hoskinson participated via telephone.

Phase I is estimated to fall somewhere within $25.7 million to $31.4 million range, though Neenan’s Garside will be able to narrow down those numbers more definitively now that a board has set the final direction on the Master Plan being done by Neenan, and the BEST Grant application that needs to be completed later in February.

The cost range includes more than $2 million of work at YMS.

A successful BEST Grant application would cover approximately 54 percent of the cost, with Yuma-1 then needing to seek a bond issue election for voter approval for the other 46 percent, which will roughly be in the $13 million to $15 million range.

If all would go as planned, work could start in the spring of 2020, and take roughly 18 months to complete.

The new addition at YHS would be built first. The classrooms can be moved temporarily into the new addition when completed, and then the major renovation on the existing classrooms would be done. Again, if all went as planned, by Christmas 2021, the classrooms can be moved back to the renovated area, the new wing can become the Career Technical Education wing as planned, and administration would move into the new wing.

The YMS classroom and kitchen upgrades during the summer in order to be ready for the start of the next school year.

Neenan presented general, color-coded drawings Monday night, simply showing the spaces that would be added and renovated. Kurtz will now begin work on detailed drawings that will show everything, such as locations of the administration offices, the CTE classrooms, the new connected ag building, and the auxiliary gym, wrestling room and locker rooms. Kurtz said the plans Yuma-1 had for the 2016 bond issue probably will fit the bill just fine.

There are some issues and concerns that came up Monday night. Yuma-1 will be increasing its square footage in the first phase though there would be demolition of the current maintenance building at the west side of the YHS campus. Overall, with the second phase, the square footage would mostly even out again.

Hoskinson said since the second phase would be planned for some time in the future, there would not be any guarantee during the current grant and construction cycle that it would ever be done, so the district will have to justify the square foot increase to the BEST Board.

The inclusion of an auxiliary gym, which would be roughly the size of the gym at YMS, and the wrestling room is the square footage that would not be offset by demolition, it was pointed out.

Chrisman asked if it would help the BEST Grant application if the auxiliary gym/wrestling room part was taken out of that, and just make it a bond issue project.

Hoskinson said it could help some with the BEST Grant, but noted it is a significant cost and not sure if the bond issue could carry that extra cost. He recommended instead to have a good explanation why the auxiliary gym and wrestling room is important. Chrisman went ahead and explained how gym space has to be shared throughout the district, with youth getting out of practices late at night, with many having distances to travel to get to their rural homes. She also explained how wrestling participation is increasing and the space allowed for it at YHS is woefully small. Hoskinson suggested taking photos to help show the need for the additional space.

It also was suggested that Yuma-1 could consider combining both phases into one project, which would eliminate the square footage issue. However, that would increase the cost to more than $40 million. That would mean asking for considerably more from BEST, and board member Duane Brown explained that on the bond issue side it would push Yuma-1 slightly above its bonding capacity. The current plan is asking for less from the voters and BEST.

Hoskinson said it would probably be best to keep ti lower and in two phases.

Brown asked if it would help to ask for a 50-50 split from BEST instead of a 54-46 split. Hoskinson said it could help some in the BEST application scoring. There is also a possibility of securing a grant from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to help with the auxiliary gym costs. Hoskinson said that would help the district’s chances.

Chrisman said they will immediately pursue the DOLA option.

In the end, an informal decision was made to proceed with the two-phase option.

The board of education will make its formal approval of the construction option, and the dollar figure for the BEST Grant application at its February meeting.