BEATRICE – Beatrice Public Schools will soon finalize the last details of financing a new preschool and elementary building in the east part of the city, north of Beatrice High School. The facility will be constructed on the north one-third of a 92-acre site the school district has owned.

Superintendent Jason Alexander said Tuesday that soil samples have come back on the ground that has been farmed for the past several years. He said a groundbreaking for the project could take place in August.  Alexander says the district is in the final stages of the schematic design.

"What I can tell people out there, it is a two-level building. It's about 145 to 147-thousand square feet. What we've been working on is just the basic layout of the building....where the classrooms will many classrooms...where the central office will be and how people will get into and out of the building....just big picture type things."

Construction design will follow. District 15 is working with Hausmann Construction as the manager of the project. Alexander says the district in the coming weeks will be able to share designs with the public, both online and by other means.  Alexander says the district is also working with Kansas State University on how to handle the current elementary buildings constructed in the mid-1950s, so that they can be sold for future development at the four sites.

"There's lots of different ideas out there. But, the Kansas State University has what they called the Brownfield study program, where these buildings have been identified as Brownfields...and work must be completed prior to the redevelopment or re-sale of those buildings...because of the amount of asbestos, lead paint, old piping, different structural deficiencies with the buildings. There's a lot of work that has to be done. So, they'll have a team that comes out here, goes through those buildings and helps us prepare."

The district is seeking grant support through the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy.

The goal is to have the new elementary facility constructed and ready for occupancy, by August of 2024. The project is using a process of establishing an interlocal agency to issue the bonds, which are then backed by the school’s building fund levy….not asking for additional property tax money through a traditional bond issue vote. The Southeast Nebraska Education Agency was created….a combination of District 15 and Educational Service Unit Number Five.

(Alexander commented on KWBE's Focus on Education program, Tuesday)