The Arlington Public Schools Board of Education learned Monday what it could cost to expand the district's facilities or to build a new elementary school.
Cody Hillen of DLR Group presented budget options to the board during its regular meeting Monday night.
Hillen presented conceptual plans, which offered construction in three phases, during the board's October meeting.
The first phase would include a wrestling room, which could double as a storm shelter, new high school locker rooms, new vocal and band rooms and the renovations of existing classrooms and other spaces. Thirteen additional elementary classrooms are included in the second phase. The third phase includes an auditorium.
Phase 1, Hillen said, would be about 22,000 square feet and cost $8.7 million. Included in that cost is a storm shelter, which would not be required by state building code.
Phase 2 would cost approximately $5 million, while the auditorium in Phase 3 would be approximately $6 million.
“It's a wish list thing,” Hillen said. “We haven't really said, 'No, let's not bring that up.' It's the whole kitchen sink, everything is in there right now.”
The expansion, which would be an additional 55,000 square feet, would be on the west side of the building, cutting into green space that is now used as football practice fields.
If the board would decide for that option, Hillen said it may lead to the decision to turf the football field, making it available for practice and still fit for games. Cost to install turf would just over $1 million.
Hillen also offered the board options for building a new elementary school. He said an ideal location would be at the corner of County Road 9 and Bell Street, which is now farm ground.
Supt. Dawn Lewis said the district has not spoken with the property owners nor is the district aware if that land is even available.
New elementary building options include:
• a PK-1 building, which would eliminate the need for Phase 2. It would include 40,000 square feet and cost $14 million. It would also leave room for future expansion.
• a PK-3 building would cost $18 million.
• PK-6 building would cost $21 million.
While there was a bit of “sticker shock,” board President Matt O'Daniel said the plans and costs will allow the board to make an informed decision.
“I think it's important to note that this is exactly what we asked DLR to do — to come up with cost estimates so that we have better information to take us down the road to a good decision,” he said.
The plans, he said, can also prepare the district for the future. Arlington Public Schools' enrollment is growing at a 2 percent rate each year. Current enrollment is 708 students.
“But what happens when that trigger hits and somebody sells 100 acres and there are plans for 75 houses to go into our district?” O'Daniel said.
The board hopes to host a community meeting to discuss the plans in January.
“Getting information and making some well thought out decisions at this stage goes a long way to presenting a plan to the public and being able to explain why we're going the direction we've chosen to go,” O'Daniel said.