Citizens for Francis Howell
Citizens for Francis Howell is working to support the Francis Howell School District bond issue on the June 2, 2020 ballot. Proposition S is a no tax rate increase bond issue.Voter approval of Proposition S would allow the District to borrow money now and in the future to address pressing facility needs at all Francis Howell schools.
Prop S Turns into Teachable Moment About the Trades
With the 2020-21 school year well underway, the daily operations of the Francis Howell School District also continue on. This includes progress on districtwide improvements that are possible through the passage of Proposition S. Approved by voters in June 2020, Prop S provided $244 million of bond money to address pressing facilities needs at all Francis Howell schools. All Prop S projects are detailed in the Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan and will be completed over the course of the next six years.
Larger Prop S projects (like the new Francis Howell North High School and updates to security vestibules) have entered into planning phases, and a handful of smaller projects have already been completed (track resurfacing at Hollenbeck Middle and parking lot repairs at Warren Elementary). Some projects, like Fairmount Elementary’s new portable trailer, are currently taking place.
“Not only does Prop S allow for much needed updates to FHSD facilities, but it also provides unique opportunities to enhance learning opportunities for students,” said Director of Facilities and Operations John Klein. “COVID may have limited our abilities to do field trips for the moment, but it doesn’t mean that learning opportunities outside the classroom cannot still happen.”
Typically, a portable trailer would be delivered, installed, and ready to go before the beginning of the school year. Delivery and installation were pushed back due to delays outside of FHSD’s control. This bump in the schedule turned into a teaching moment about the trades for some elementary students.
“Seven of our junior Falcon engineers had the opportunity to observe and report on the new portable classroom being installed,” said Administrative Intern Eric Eubank. “Our junior engineers reported back to their classroom with the notes that they took.”
Outfitted in their very own Fairmount safety vests and hats, students were invited to watch as the construction crew lined up the first half of the trailer, operated heavy equipment, and slowly eased the piece into place over concrete blocks.
“It was one of the coolest things I have seen,” said David S.
Another student, D’Andre W., said, “It was very cool to watch them use the tools to work and move the portable trailers.”
Cruise W. thought that “it was so awesome to represent my class and go back and report.”
This experience also provided students with a close-up view of tradespeople in action.
“Students were exposed to examples of how math, science, English, and engineering all played into making this process work smoothly,” said Klein. “The Facilities and Operations Team looks forward to more opportunities as we progress through Prop S projects, to expose more of our students to the trades and experiential learning outside the classroom.”
As many trade workers reach retirement age, more opportunities have opened up for students seeking an alternative to college. Skilled trade work has become increasingly popular for graduating FHSD students. Opening students’ minds to the possibility of the trades early on ensures that all students can find a suitable career path after their time in the hallways of FHSD.
Prop S Construction Update
Prop S Projects Impacted by COVID-Related Delays and Cost Increases
October Prop S Update
Prop S - Project Manager Jeremy Boettler gave a Prop S update, again reiterating ongoing challenges facing the construction industry, including high demand, labor shortages, inflationary material costs and COVID-related delays in the steel and aluminum industries, which impact project timelines and budgets. Boettler also shared that the facilities advisory committee has been proactively re-evaluating and prioritizing projects, with the goal of providing the greatest possible value for the District at the lowest possible cost in a difficult market.
Boettler said four additional security vestibule projects are scheduled for completion over fall break and construction on the new Francis Howell North is moving along well. The Guaranteed Maximum Price, or GMP, for the Francis Howell North project will be presented at a Board meeting in the near future. It is expected to come in higher than previously expected for the reasons noted above concerning the construction industry.
Prop S August Update
- FHN/Henderson’s entry drive was expanded to separate construction traffic from school traffic as part of the progress on the new Francis Howell North High School
- FHC and Saeger’s parking lots were repaved
- Track and parking lot replacement/renovations were completed at Bryan Middle
- Major systems (HVAC, Boiler Loop, Electrical) were replaced at Becky-David, along with new paint, lighting and floors
Check the Prop S page on the FH District website for frequent updates on construction progress and expenses