District faces short timeline on new project

After getting a $5 million grant to build a community care center, the Humboldt district has until September of 2025 to spend the money for it. It's a tight construction timeline. The school board agreed Monday to hire a project manager.

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February 13, 2024 - 3:36 PM

USD 258 school board president Josh Wrestler leads Monday’s meeting. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

HUMBOLDT — Construction of a new community center at the Humboldt Sports Complex will face a quick turnaround. 

That’s because its funding — a $5 million grant — must be spent before September 2025. 

“Now that we’ve found out how long those projects actually take, we’ve got to get moving,” USD 258 Superintendent Amber Wheeler told board members Monday night.

On top of that new contruction is the ongoing $17.5 million bond project approved by voters in 2022. Most of the renovations are expected to be finished this summer, with the entire project completed by the end of 2024.

Wheeler hopes to start construction on the new project in August.

For the new community center, board members hired DCS as the Construction Manager At Risk to oversee the project. The Wichita-based construction firm has partnered with the Greenbush education cooperative in rural Girard. That relationship allows participating school districts to forego the standard bid process.

Taylor Durr, DCS president, said he had advised Wheeler on cost estimates as she worked on the grant proposal for the community center. DCS is overseeing construction of a similar project for the Neodesha school district, which had been awarded the same grant in an earlier round of funding.

The Neodesha project has an Aug. 1 deadline, “so we’ll roll our team up here right after that one,” Durr said. 

The next step is to hire an architect. 

MORE DECISIONS will come as the district determines priorities for the center. 

Dubbed the Cubs Community Care Center, the Humboldt district is partnering with Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center and Allen Community College.

The project has four components: health care, child care, education and workforce development. 

Wheeler outlined plans for each area.

Health care: SEKMHC will either move or expand its Ashley Clinic, currently located downtown. The new facility will include six exam rooms with two healthcare providers as well as mental health services. Ashley Clinic’s pharmacy also may move to the center, depending on available space.

Child care: Two family-style daycare rooms will provide care for up to 24 children. The “family-style” model requires fewer regulations and allows staff to accept a variety of ages based on needs. Primarily, they plan to care for infants and toddlers. 

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