MAUHS renovations coming this summer

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BENNINGTON — Mount Anthony Union High School's interior is getting an upgrade, in an effort to modernize the building and increase security before it reopens for the 2019-2020 school year.

"Functions and requirements of a main office building have changed a lot since the 1960s, and we want to make sure that this building is prepared as best we can for another 50 years of use," said Derek Carson, public information coordinator for the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union.

The estimated cost for the project were not available; Carson said he did not yet want to comment publicly on a completed cost estimate for the project, to avoid skewing the bid responses. Bid responses must include an estimate of costs, he said.

Bids for a general contractor are being accepted until June 3 for interior alterations of about 2,300 square feet to the main entrance and main office, according to a public notice of invitation to bid posted in Wednesday's Banner. The work will begin June 26 and be fully complete Aug. 16.

Main entrance work will include security upgrades —creating a secure vestibule for student and visitor check-in and a separate area for package receiving, Carson said

Work on the main office will involve separating multiple functions currently handled in the office, with a complete renovation of the office itself, a new public waiting area and a consolidated copy center for faculty.

"Part of the goal of this is to separate security and disciplinary functions from main office administrative functions," Carson said. "Right now, this is all handled in the same place. There's a lot of unrelated things happening in this office."

Main office work will also include upgrades to the electrical, HVAC and sprinkler systems, he said. That office was designed over 50 years ago, he said.

Security upgrades in particular are an important focus for the SVSU, Carson said.

"We've been completing security upgrades at all of our other buildings," he said. The SVSU has been working on security upgrades for years, he said.

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Vic Milani, school safety coordinator, was hired in the spring of 2017, and he presented a plan for addressing safety concerns in the schools in September 2017, Carson said.

"Obviously, school shootings have been on the minds of [this] country for many years," he said. "You never want to wait until something happens to try to make the schools safer."

Main entrance renovations were budgeted in the MAU district's fiscal 2020 budget. The budgeted amount will not cover the whole cost; the rest of it will be paid for through the MAU capital projects fund, Carson said. The office renovations will be funded entirely through that fund, he said.

"There will be no need to raise any additional money for this project," he said. "It really is part of a long-term project to keep the high school operating at modern standards."

Project work at the main entrance also includes work on entry doors and system upgrades. At the main office, the changes also include: creating additional office space, accessible bathroom, general finishes and lighting upgrades.

This is one of many planned projects needed to prepare the building for another half-century of use, Carson said. He said that without knowing what officials will prioritize, he didn't want to comment on specific upcoming projects.

"The goal is to be continuously upgrading this high school, so we can take advantage of this building [into the future]," he said. "Consider it a long-term investment in the building."

The contract will be awarded no later than June 10, according to the notice.

General contractor bids are due Monday, June 3 at 3 p.m. Interested parties will also be required to attend a pre-bid conference at MAUHS on May 20.

Officials will evaluate bids and present a recommendation to the MAU school board at its June meeting, Carson said.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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