Vale Middle School moving ahead

By John L. Braese

The Enterprise

VALE – Vale city concerns that prompted talk of moving the new Vale Middle School have been resolved and plans to raise the school next to the high school are cranking up.

Alisha McBride, interim superintendent, told the Vale School Board Wednesday that school plans are back on track.

“The city of Vale has approved our site plan,” McBride told the board. “All the problems and concerns the city had with placing the middle school behind the high school have been fixed.”

The city had expressed concerns with fire access lanes along with adequate turn around areas for fire engines. Also discussed was adequate space between the new building and existing homes bordering the land. In meetings between Steele Associates Architects, the state fire marshal and the city, compromises were reached and new plans were submitted and accepted by the city and state marshal.

McBride also told the board plans for obtaining bids and starting construction are moving ahead.

“We are anticipating bid packets will go out Jan. 9 and we hope to present those bids to the board in February or March,” she said.

McBride said Steele Associates Architects has already been approached by three large construction firms wanting  information on the bid process.

“Right now, I think we can have a contract signed in March and start turning dirt,” she said.

McBride said the school is now on schedule to open in April 2019. Initial plans called for the opening of the school in December 2018 or January 2019.

The news from McBride comes after a string of missteps including the recent firing of ESI Construction, the construction firm originally hired to build the new school. Other problems have included rising costs forcing the district to scale back original plans and concern over the location of the new school.

Voters approved an $8 million bond in last November’s election to build the new school. The state added $4 million in matching funds.