Old High School Getting New Look

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The 40-year-old "old main" building on the campus of Payson High School will soon get a much-needed face-lift.

Funding for the remodel and repair of the building was approved at an Oct. 18 school board meeting. The low bid of $1,654,338 was submitted by BMJS contracting of Winslow.

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Students at Payson High School will be making many changes as a remodeling project starts on the main building on campus. The plan is to move classes into different spaces while the building is closed for construction.

"It (the remodeling) is much needed, the place is a mess," Superintendent Sue Myers said. "There were leaks, mold issues and many other problems.

A time line to begin construction has not yet been set, but Myers is hoping for a quick start.

"It (the beginning of remodeling) is up to the contractor, but we'd like to get it going and over with," she said.

Assistant superintendent Bobette Sylvester will encourage BMJS to set an early start date.

"When we sign the bid papers, we will ask them to expedite the project," she said.

While construction is underway, old main will be completely shut down and classes will be held in other campus buildings.

"(PHS principal) Roy (Sandoval) has come up with a plan to move every class," Myers said. "It will be challenging."

The administrators and their secretaries will be housed in a temporary facility.

"We will bring in a mobile (office) for them while construction is going on," Sylvester said.

Money for the improvements will come from a Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB).

Obtaining the QZAB loan, rather than using traditional funding, will save the district more than $300,000 in interest over the next five years, Sylvester said.

QZAB loans begin as federal grants that are eventually allocated to each state.

"When the state gets them, schools can apply for them," she said. "Which is what we did, because there is no interest."

Sylvester said the loans could be doled out interest-free because the lenders receive federal tax credits for funding them.

The remodeling of the building will include a new roof, improved heating and air conditioning, construction of a centrally located reception area, updating three science classrooms and constructing offices that will house all high school administrators, their secretaries and the school resource office.

Also, some exterior improvements will make the building more contemporary.

The small building that now houses Sandoval, his secretary and a meeting area will be turned into an alternative classroom.

"That will give us another option besides the (Payson) Center for Success," Myers said.

The movement to remodel old main began in 2003 when Myers was the PHS principal.

"We were just going to remodel the offices, but the board said ‘let's do something for the kids,'" she said.

Until then, the district had neglected its infrastructure for years, opting instead to allocate most of the budget to improving salaries and employee benefits.

"Personnel matters had taken priority," Myers said.

In 2004, Sylvester was able to acquire the $2 million interest-free loan and an architect, Thom Bohlen of Oracle, was hired.

At a May 31, 2005 board meeting, members approved the project and Bohlen prepared the bid documents.

Also with QZAB funding, the district has added new air conditioning and heating to Rim Country Middle School classrooms.

With any remaining money from the original $2 million, the district plans to remodel the rest rooms in the Julia Randall Elementary School Rock Building.

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