Knowlton Auditorium renovation bids approved

Published 10:21 am Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Austin Public Schools Board approved a bid from JD Driver Ltd for about $2,085,000, for the construction work to Knowlton Auditorium, the Commons and Ove Berven Gym this summer.

The board approved several additions to the project, including a wall-accent, an epoxy terrazzo and refinishing the gym floor. The project will cost just under the initially estimated $2.3 million.

“It fits right in line with our budget,” Finance and Operations Director Mark Stotts said.

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The $2,085,000 in general obligation capital facilities bonds will go toward upgrading Knowlton Auditorium’s sound and electrical systems. The plans for the auditorium also currently include renovating the open concourse area, interior of the auditorium and making one wall removable for gym access.

Stotts hopes the removable wall — which will be made from material to withstand impact — will provide more space for big events such as graduation.

“I think what will happen is it will allow the high school to have graduation in that facility,” Stotts said. “When it was just the auditorium there wasn’t near enough seating for it, now if we open it up people will be able to be in the gym and still be able to see the whole stage.”

The wall was removable many years ago, but likely due to fire code, it was changed into a more permanent wall.

The district has worked with JD Driver Ltd on previous projects.

The board approved bids for the renovations to Austin High School’s more than 20-year-old heating ventilation air conditioning system system, or HVAC system — which will take place this summer — in January. Those bonds amounted to about $3.8 million, instead of the $5.3 million originally planned.

The four bids for the HVAC system, include JD Driver Ltd at $227,000 for general construction, DMC Plumbing and Heating at $2,392,000 for mechanical aspects, Fox Electrical Company at $589,7000 for the electrical areas, and Paape Energy at $605,780 for building and automation. Each company has worked with the district in the past.

The projects are set to take place this summer and were planned together due to the amount of construction each project will require. The district has discussed the projects since I.J. Holton Intermediate School’s construction was completed.