The New Scottsbluff High School
Few projects of this magnitude can boast of its success like we all can with this one. And, it took all of us to get it there. This was not a school district achievement alone by any means. It was a vision that this community collaboratively developed and then stood together to make happen. We are also proud to say, your efforts may well have inspired our neighbors across the river to ultimately follow suit enhancing this entire valley as a uniquely qualified attraction for families and businesses looking to make their home in a progressive, future focused and well educated community.
This all began on August 11, 2014 when the Board of Education heard from many, brave community champions advocating that a proposal for a “new” high school be brought to the voters. Thank you to those among you who literally stood in line before the Board to voice your request, including: Senator John Harms; Rev. Mark Selvey; Dr. Todd Sorensen; Dr. Todd Holcomb; Dr. Jeff and Kim Holloway, Lee Glenn; Bob Kelly; Charlie Kennedy; Doug Miller; Eli Aguilar; Doug Kriewald; Bill Trumbull; Darla Heggem; Howard Olsen; Grant Hinze; Hod Kosman; Juanita Rodriguez and to others who wrote letters including Jason and Sami Webb, Michael Moravec, John Massey and organizations such as the 23 Club, NEXT Young Professionals, the Coyotes Special Olympics, the Wrestling Club, the Rotary Club, the Boy Scouts, TCD, area PTO’s and many more. And special thanks to Senator Harms, Darla Heggem, Dr. Holloway, Kim Holloway, and Bob Kelley who then stepped forward to chair the campaign committee. Thank you all for your foresight.
This project has been completed on time, on budget and at full scope. It was funded in a widely open and transparent manner as overseen by members of community Bond and Construction Oversight groups who advised the initial planning. As I have often said, “All the stars aligned for this project.”
The District had been saving for a high school renovation/repair project and promised to include these dollars in any major rebuild. This allowed a $29.2M bond to expand to a $40M project with no additional cost to the taxpayer. Too many public entities (on a broad national scale) “rat-hole” reserves thereby charging the taxpayer twice. To the contrary and to their credit, our Board of Education saw and shared the opportunity to do it better. Additionally, our design and architect firm, Baker and Associates, provided us their services at a fraction of the cost anyone else would have charged for comparable work and, just as importantly, they provided local, constant oversight every step of the way. They also quite amazingly figured out a way to “build around” the core of the old school (utilities, gym, auditorium etc.) and create a finished product that is effectually brand new.
Hausmann Construction, demonstrating a strong commitment to western Nebraska, submitted a bid significantly below any other. DA Davidson, and Scottsbluff grad Andy Forney, engineered financial rates and terms taking advantage of every possible benefit. Additionally, a Board decision to self-manage the project as a “design-bid-build (DBB)” rather than a “construction manager at-risk (CMAR),” brought significant savings and control (and work) to our own District team led by Randy Scott, our Director of Facilities and Project Manager and Lavon Hood, our CFO. All told, the initial $29.2M bond investment has been leveraged to a facility that would likely cost well in excess of $50M if one were to attempt something like it brand new “from the ground up.” Additionally, our future was not compromised with our general, building and depreciation funds all maintaining balances well above what we forecasted at the start of the project leaving us in good stead for the future.
A very special thank you is due our local sub-contractors who collectively served to complete the vast majority of the work on the building. These include Tom Nation of Robert Nation Masonry, Gunther Koob of Scottsbluff Industries, Dick Meyer of Scottsbluff Landscaping, John Sukup and Todd Morrison of Snell Services, Justin Heggem of Sunshine Holdings, Tom Thompson of Thompson Glass, Terry Shank of Twin City Roofing, Brad VanPelt of VanPelt Fencing, Katie Pierce of Eric Reichert Insulation and Construction, and the many of you who provided such quality work as members of these crews. Every one of you made this project your own!
Furthermore, the facility now partners with Western Nebraska Community College with two shuttles now commuting students back and forth throughout the day providing students authentic and productive ways to advance their education in a historically post graduate environment. Additionally, the high school supports a dramatically increasing number of professional internships thanks to a variety of local businesses – many of whom are offering students continued employment.
I “challenge” all of you to find a comprehensive, neighborhood high school anywhere in this country that provides the depth and variety of opportunities and experiences to all of its students that our new Scottsbluff High School will have fully operationalized next August. I believe there is no more student centered high school anywhere. Those of you who have seen the school know that and we invite those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to do so to call over to the school and make arrangements to do so. Featured components include authentic Health and Medical Science labs, high-tech Engineering/Design equipment and Multimedia Production Centers, professional grade Recording and Video Studios, a state-of-the-industry culinary facility, a cosmetology area in partnership with Fullen School of Hair Design, an enormous Agriculture Studies area featuring thirteen welding bays, a greenhouse and a live animal bay, state of the industry construction trades spaces and local industry equipment, highly functional library/media and counseling centers, a new competition sized auxiliary gym, a brand new wrestling room and weight room, and one of only seven Junior ROTC programs (already 143 students strong) in Nebraska - and the only one west of Grand Island. --Superintendent Rick Myles