Historic Rock Building To Become School's District Office

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Room in the Payson Unified School District's $34 million bond, approved by voters in 2006, allows for a relocated district office.

The Rock Building, an historic schoolhouse built in 1935, will serve as the new headquarters once nearly $850,000 in renovations are completed. It sits near Julia Randall Elementary School at the west end of Main Street.

At its Monday night board meeting, the board approved moving from the design phase into the planning-for-construction phase. The plans approved carry a guaranteed maximum price of $849,531.

Board member Don Engler said he wanted to make sure the board delivered on everything promised to the public when it passed the bond. "It appears we've been able to accomplish that and there's room for this project as well."

The bond is funding $20.3 million for a new building at Julia Randall Elementary School, $7.5 million for improvements at Rim Country Middle School, over $1 million each at Frontier and Payson Elementary Schools, and $3.4 million in improvements at Payson High School. Construction is on schedule.

The Rock Building will be entirely re-wired because its current wiring doesn't meet code, according to construction officials.

The main floor area will be renovated into new office space, and an existing gym area will become a new boardroom, also offering community meeting space.

The main corridor and existing wood floor won't be altered, so that the building's structural integrity remains, according to district documents.

The same architecture firm that drew designs for the Rock Building will receive more cash for their work on Rim Country Middle School because the project required more effort than originally anticipated.

A $1 million addition -- for the work needed, not a structural addition -- led to negotiations between PinnacleOne construction and SSPW Architects, which resulted in an extra $114,000 for SSPW.

"We believe the sum that has been negotiated is fair and reasonable," Tim Brand of PinnacleOne said before asking the board's approval.

Superintendent Casey O'Brien told the board he expected to receive $1 million from the state School Facilities Board for the addition. However, that money is "frozen" because the state has no money.

"We may still get that money," O'Brien said. "The good news, I guess, is even without it, we're okay."

Interest from bond revenue had earned $1.1 million as of July 31, with another $512,000 expected from this month until Jan. 2010.

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