School construction job goes to Spokane firm

The superintendent recently picked a Spokane-based architect to convert two Oak Harbor High School buildings into a space for support centers and to design athletic fields.

In April, an engineering study showed that some of the district’s support centers on Midway Avenue were in “extreme states of deterioration.”

They decided to move the programs into Oak Harbor High School’s famously round C and D wings, which are no longer occupied by students.

The board added the athletic fields for a single, large project.

“It’s more than just the grass on the field. They will look at things such water fountains, concessions and dugouts,” Superintendent Rick Schulte said.

The district received about 14 proposals from design teams, and six were selected for interviews.

The final six included local architect Terry Ledesky who partnered with a Mount Vernon firm.

Ultimately, the superintendent chose NAC Architecture of Spokane. Schulte said the deciding factor for NAC was their in-depth knowledge of the wings at the beginning of the modernization project, when the board anticipated they would be upgraded for the Career and Technical Education building.

NAC has already done considerable work in terms of code compliance and roof upgrades and is familiar with the school’s underground pipes and cables.

Schulte says the architect was selected based on qualification, rather than bid.

“A low bid could come back to haunt you,” Schulte said.

The school district is still working on a cost estimate for the work. If the district and architecture firm reach an impasse on contract agreements, the school board will return to the list of six.

The project will be paid for using the balance in the high school modernization account and investment earnings from the sale of bonds.

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