If all goes smoothly, construction work on Brookings-Harbor schools could begin as early as February or March of next year, and students could move into new buildings by fall 2003.

That was the proposed schedule offered by architect Dick Bryant and tentatively approved Monday by the school board and a citizens school bond oversight committee.

It was the first meeting in which members of the Brookings-Harbor School Board and the School Bond Citizens Review and Oversight Committee discussed the overall project among themselves and with Bryant.

Participants spent nearly three hours asking Bryant questions and discussing the finer details of the school bond project, which includes building a small gym at Kalmiopsis Elementary School, covered walkways and a new cafeteria/multi-use room at both Azalea Middle School and Brookings-Harbor High School.

The school board and oversight committee, which consists of citizens with contracting and building experience, also approved Bryants recommendation that the school district hire a consultant to represent the districts interests in the project.

The consultant, referred to as the owners representative, would help manage the schedule, paperwork, construction permits, inspections, reports to the board, start up and final project closeouts.

The owners representative would be hired about a month before construction contracts would go out to bid and remain on board until the projects were completed.

The representative would keep the staff informed about the construction progress and how it will impact the teachers and students, Bryant said.

The representatives contract would be limited just to the three major school expansion projects and may assist with non school bond-related renovation projects that may be scheduled during the main projects, he said.

Bryant said his company, WBGS Architecture and Planning, would be responsible for hiring the representative, which would cost between $4,000-$6,000 a month.

That amount, he said, was based on employement ads published by other school districts doing similar construction projects.

Hiring such a representative, Bryant said, was still less expensive then the alternatives:

Hiring a firm to provide management services, a fairly expensive and complicated approach that does not guarantee a price or completion date.

Hire a firm that can manage and perform all or some of the construction with its own crews, which is more expensive, complicated and may have hidden costs.

The discussion focused heavily on the project timeline. Bryant offered two scenarios:

Award construction bids in December 2001 and begin construction in January 2002. The project would be completed by March or May of 2003.

Award construction bids in March or April 2002 and begin construction in May. The project would be completed in the summer of 2003 in time for the fall semester.

Bryant said the first scenario would be risky because it would mean building foundations and other structural elements during the rainy season, which could affect quality. Rain delays would also disrupt the carefully planned timeline and add to construction costs. Everyone agreed this was not the way to go.

There is nothing to be gained by pushing the envelop and finishing the project in April or May of 2003, said school board member Brian Larrson.

The biggest impact of finishing construction in summer 2003 would be on the districts summer school program that year, said District Superintendent Paul Prevenas.

Thats still less disruptive than trying to (finish the construction) during the school year, Prevenas said. This is probably the smoothest way to go.

The school board, with a nod from the oversight committee, approved the first timeline.

Bryant cautioned the board that the timeline they approved may change slightly in the first couple of months of planning.

Bryant said he will fine-tune the conceptual design of the project before sending it out to bid. It will take four to six months to have a final set of drawings, he said. The bidding process will take another two to three months.

Meanwhile, Bryant will hire separate firms to do surveying, soil testing and underground utilities work. Some preliminary construction will likely begin this summer, such as relocating the softball field, conducting underground utility work and moving portable classrooms.

This type of work will show the community that the project is under way, Bryant said.