Green Hills AEA (Area Education Agency) will be renovating part of the Burton R. Jones Center for Education, located at 801 N. Elm St.
According to the notice of letting, the renovation project will consist of “approximately 7,000-square-feet of former classroom and lunch room space.”
The space is currently used for storage by Creston School District. Creston Schools owns the Burton R. Jones Center for Education, and Green Hills AEA will be owning the project and construction. Creston Schools will be leasing the space to Green Hills AEA.
“If the AEA wants to do any remodeling, they have to have permission from the state. You know, even though the AEA had a good vision, and it was cost effective, they still had to have permission from the state, and all of that just takes time,” said Creston School District interim Superintendent Chuck Scott.
The renovation will include the addition of restrooms, private offices, open office work space, computer rooms, a reception area, hearing booth, break room and a conference room. Overhead cameras will be installed in the conference rooms.
Green Hills AEA will be increasing the abilility for the building to manage wireless technology by taking out the current wiring and installing fiber optic cables throughout the entire building.
The renovation also covers new power, lighting, HVAC, plumbing, exterior windows and interior finishes.
The parking lots will create space for 105 stalls.
“They’ll come in, take down dry wall, ceilings, put in new wiring, put back dry wall, put in new ceilings,” said Scott. “They’re going to have a separate entrance for AEA people or people who come to utilize the AEA services.”
All the construction is being coordinated and paid for by Green Hills AEA.
According to Lane Plugge, chief administrator for Green Hills AEA, both Green Hills and Creston School boards have approved the 28-E agreement that defines a partnership, and part of that agreement includes the AEA transferring the property.
“The AEA has been a terrific partner to work with,” said Scott. “As they do remodeling, they come to us and say, ‘This is what we’re planning to do, can you see any holes in our thought process? Or is it okay to go forward?’ They’ve been very good about doing that ... at each step they plan to secure our approval and make sure that we’re knowledgable of what’s going on.”
After the tornado April 14, the previous AEA was destroyed. Rather than rebuild, Green Hills AEA decided to look around for an open space. They then decided to partner with Creston Schools to renovate the Burton R. Jones Center for Education.
“We’re going to be sharing some services between the schools, school district and the AEA,” said Plugge.
Green Hills AEA will be building a conference room in the empty space, which can be used by Creston Schools if the board room is occupied. The AEA can also use the board room if their conference room is occupied.
An architect reviewed the plans and process for going forward, and the Green Hills AEA board passed a resolution to continue with set plans for renovation. The bid documents have been accepted, as have a preliminary budget and sample contract. Bids for the contract of construction are being advertised.
Tomorrow there will be a walk-through for any interested contractors.
According to Iowa statute, before Green Hills AEA can release the construction bids, they must hold a public hearing.
Bids for the project will be opened Feb. 7.
“It’s our plan to review the bids we received and award a bid on February 12,” said Plugge.
A meeting is scheduled Feb. 12 to discuss the bids Green Hills AEA receives.
“Some extreme opportunities for us just as a district are coming along,” said Scott.