Oberon School Construction Project

We are making great progress towards start of construction on the new school, and thought it was important to share that with the Community.   Ubl Design recently reported they are 90% complete with drawings, and here are some new images:

 The School Board has been very diligent in assuring costs stay within the Impact Aid funding.    To that end, the School Board employed the process outlined in the Century Code to retain Consolidated Construction Company as Construction Manager at Risk.  Consolidated’s role has been to work with Ubl Design to identify cost savings, and keep the project within the approved budget.    Once design is complete, Consolidated legally advertises and publicly bids 100% of the construction work, then provides a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the entire project.   Any savings under the GMP are returned 100% to the School District, and can be re-invested in the new building or site improvements that will benefit the Community.

 Ubl Design recently issued a portion of the project for bid, so we could break ground this fall, and avoid unnecessary winter condition costs.   This early bid package also included the pre-engineered metal building, which takes 13 weeks to deliver, so ordering that building is also time critical to receive those materials before winter.   Consolidated received 20 bids in the various categories of work, and presented their GMP Proposal to the School Board on August 22, 2019.    Bid results are on budget and on schedule towards completion by the Federal Impact Aid deadline of June 30, 2020, as long as Consolidated’s proposal is accepted by September 11, 2019.   Formal action has been requested at the regular School Board meeting on September 10, 2019.

 The following risks were identified if the GMP 1 Proposal is not approved by September 11:

–          Inflation, most recently driven by labor availability and tariffs

–          Increased hourly rates due to employee raises, typically incurred in January each year 

–          Winter conditions, including frost removal, surcharges for concrete materials, temporary protection and/or shelters, fuel consumption, etc.   Consolidated encouraged the District to begin construction this fall, as these costs are much less than the projected inflation of a spring construction start.

 We are also contacting the Federal Government to understand the consequences if their June 30, 2020 deadline is not met, and will have that information for the School Board by September 10.

 As always, your questions, comments, and concerns are welcome!   Please contact Dr. Azure at (701) 798-2231

Oberon School Receives $4.7 million Federal Grant

Oberon School has just made another giant step towards moving into the new school building. UBL Design has completed another rendition of the school (Schematic Design), but we are still not there. This design phase usually takes some time. Making sure the design gets us the biggest bang for our buck and is pleasing to the school board and administration is very time consuming. We want to make sure we get it right the first time!

You can click on the images and get a visual of what the outside of the building will potentially look like. We’re still in the designing phase, so the colors and exterior material shown here may change. And, this playground equipment is only a model of what could be on the playground.

Let us know what you think!

2018-10-17

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Conceptual Design is finally here! While the school is still very much in the design phase, we can now see how the school will be located on the land just south of Oberon.

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Oberon School District has received a $4.7 million grant from the Department of Education: Impact Aid. The Oberon School Board elected to compete against other schools who may be impacted by federal lands and was successful. It is really a surprise for all involved. The school will be built just south of the Oberon city limits on a 12 acre plot that belonged to Jane and Joan Cudworth. At one point their father farmed the land, but it has more recently been in the CRP program for around 8 years. The land was purchased at $5000/acre and had to go through a grueling process to insure it met all the federal requirements and was capable of handling a one-story school building.

Braun Intertec Corporation created a grid to test the site and after a 2-1/2 days of boring holes at different depths, determined the land was ideal for new construction.

Part of the grueling process of satisfying the Department of Education is having Braun boring at new school construction site.
Part of the grueling process of satisfying the Department of Education is having Braun boring at new school construction site.

School Administrator (Superintendent/Principal), Dr. Lane Azure has wanted to provide everyone with something that they can actually see. We have the land, we have the funds, we just have to wait for the drawings to be completed before the actual building can be conceptualized.

The School District Land Owners became interested in the project once Senator Heitkamp and Hoeven announced the we actually were awarded the federal grant. Some of the Land Owners’ concerns have been shared at Oberon School Board meetings, but not everyone is aware of what will take place. The big question is if the taxes the school assesses will go up? The answer to that is a great big “NO”! In fact, since Dr. Lane Azure has been in his current position, the land owners of Oberon School District have probably seen a drop in their annual tax bills. We encourage you to look it over, because if your bill has went up, it certainly isn’t because Oberon School has raised taxes. Since July 2015, Oberon School District has decreased the amount of taxes assessed to district land owners by over 12% (about $76,000 over 3 years).  A new school built on funds from the federal government will not affect (increase) district taxes.

Details of facts on how the school district went from near bankruptcy to financial integrity.
Details of facts on how the school district went from near bankruptcy to financial integrity.

Additionally, Ubl Design Group is working with engineers who are well-versed in developing a design that may allow the school to operate for less. In other words, the New School will operate at less than what it costs to operate the current 100 year old building. Dr. Azure and Oberon School Board are doing everything possible to make sure the new school adds value to Oberon City, even if it will be just outside city limits. The school has managed to set aside nearly $300,000 in savings to assist in making sure the school has some things that might be outside the scope of the project. For example, maybe a new bus barn will be built on school grounds to house the new buses the district has purchased? Maybe a larger playground will be constructed?  Maybe the parking lot will be paved rather than crushed gravel? When the design is complete, we will have more firm answers.

In Summary, Oberon School District School Board and Administration have:

  • Increased student enrollment (4%)
  • Increased revenue (14%) from State and Federal programs 
  • DECREASED (12% or $76,000) DISTRICT TAXES to district land owners
  • Decreased overall school district spending (6%)
  • Reconciled & Balanced the school budget
  • Carried over the maximum allowable according to ND State formula (35% of expenditures plus $50,000) creating a healthy and stable  balance in the general fund and this balance has allowed the District to:
    • Create a building/construction fund of nearly $300,000
    • Purchase three (3) buses 2015 and newer
    • Updated technology in the school for Students (1:1),
    • teachers (laptops and JTouch Interactive Boards), and the
    • building (School wide WIFI via Fiber Optic)
  • Secured funding ($4.7 million) for a New School
Oberon School District School Board and Administration have changed the fiscal culture to one built on a new positive foundation.
Oberon School District School Board and Administration have changed the fiscal culture to one built on a new positive foundation.

The School Board and Administration will do our best to have a community informational meeting if you have any questions that you need answered. You can always contact me (701) 350-0192 (cell) if you would like to talk to me personally, or stop into the school.

For now, we will try our best to keep you informed.

Thank you,

Lane Azure