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JCPS continues preparations for second high school

JCPS continues preparations for second high school

September 13th, 2017 by Phillip Sitter in Local News

The Jefferson City Public Schools Board of Education meets on Sept. 12, 2017 in a session that was streamed live for the first time via YouTube, as seen in this screenshot from the stream.

"Ready when you are" was the sentiment expressed by Jefferson City Public Schools' Amy Berendzen to the Board of Education about starting the process to name the district's second high school, but it applies to other efforts discussed at the board's meeting Tuesday night, too.

Berendzen, who is the district's director of school-community relations, said nominations for names of the second high school would open this week, and the entry process would be promoted on the district's home website, through social media and through all other means by which it communicates with stakeholders.

There is an online nomination form, and while nominations are being collected, a naming committee will be formed. "They will do the hard work. They'll come, gather what's trending in themes for names, and they'll come back to you" with recommendations, Berendzen told the board.

She said nominators would also be asked why they want to put forth the name they do — "some compelling reason why the second high school here in Jefferson City should have the name you've provided us."

Once the board decides on a few names it likes, the public will have the opportunity to vote — one electronic vote per device — and she added the district would like to unveil the name of the second high school at the time of ground-breaking, which is slated for January.

Board member Michael Couty suggested students be on the naming committee, in addition to the three or so school administrators, four teachers, three support staff, parent volunteers, partners in education/business partners and community members who will be on it.

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"We absolutely can," Berendzen said, and added student contributions are already included in plans for selecting the second high school's mascot and colors.

She said after the meeting the existing high school will not be renamed; it will remain Jefferson City High School.

The contract with Nabholz Construction for the role of construction manager-at risk on the district's two high school projects has not yet been agreed upon; a draft copy was included in the board's information packet.

The district's chief financial and operating officer Jason Hoffman reported to the board the contract is worth $5 million, of which the pre-construction phase is $100,000.

Hoffman said Nabholz is currently working on the pre-construction phase without a contract.

"They're wanting to get this contract signed. We're wanting to get the contract signed, but we both agree we want to have a really good contract that we all agree upon," he added.

He said all parties' attorneys have looked over the contract, but the main sticking point has been the guaranteed maximum price, specifically when the district will see it and what its structure will be.

The guaranteed maximum price of a contract caps the construction costs that a project owner — the district — is liable for and holds a contractor responsible for any cost overruns, according to information from a law firm that specializes in counsel for the construction industry.

"We're waiting on feedback from the architects. They've promised it this week, but as we know, they're busy working with Nabholz right now on drawings and estimating and all kinds of other things," but as soon as the contract is ready for the board to approve it, Hoffman added a special meeting would probably be called for approval.

In his printed update to the board, Hoffman wrote, "This is too important to rush through and we need to make sure it is a good contract for both sides. Before approval, I will make sure to clearly point out any changes from the document you are receiving at this time to the final version."

Tuesday night's meeting was also a test run for live-streaming of the board's meetings. The feed recorded by cameras in the room was live, and the video has already been archived on the district's YouTube channel — Jefferson City Public Schools — as "JCPSVIDEOS Live Stream."

Board President Steve Bruce said the test run would allow any bugs to be fixed before the district promotes streaming of its next board meeting in October. Berendzen said a link to the video will be live each Monday of a board meeting on the district's homepage, jcschools.us.