Manatee schools spending $65 million-plus on maintenance, construction

ataylor@bradenton.comJuly 20, 2011 

MANATEE -- Manatee schools are bustling with activity even though school is out for the summer.

More than $65 million in construction work is being done on schools throughout the district.

The summer months are the busiest time for major construction projects, said Sherry Dowling, director of construction services. Those along with other minor renovations are being done.

One long-awaited project Dowling and his team have been overseeing is the completion of Manatee High School’s Davis Building at a cost of about $14.5 million. The 71,000-square-foot building includes choral, band and orchestra rooms, dance studio, 25 classrooms, an outdoor amphitheater and a large auditorium as well as music practice rooms.

The majority of the construction has been completed but a final inspection still needs to be done.

Other projects like the $11 million renovation of Myakka City Elementary School also are expected to be completed by the start of the school year on Aug. 22.

“I have about a half a dozen projects going on in the short windows of opportunity while the kids aren’t here,” Dowling said. “We’re busy.”

Other district projects include the start of Manatee Technical Institute’s $44 million facility, a 205,000-square-foot facility near Braden River High School in East Manatee.

Construction is scheduled to be complete by December 2012 and will open for students in January 2013.

Braden River Middle School will receive a new access road this summer at a cost of $150,000. That project is on target to be done before the start of the school year, Dowling said.

There also are several basic maintenance jobs underway, he said. Major construction to King Middle School was completed about five years ago. But stucco to the new building needed to be sealed and repainted to keep moisture out.

“The idea of a moisture plan is to keep moisture from getting into the building -- to keep the building sealed,” Dwight Dupree, construction project director, said.

Dowling said the painting and sealant are a requirement every five years to keep stucco properly maintained.

The King Middle School maintenance costs the district about $321,113. The money for the projects are part of the district’s capital funds.

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