The Muscogee County School District has announced the date and time for the groundbreaking ceremony that will celebrate the start of constructing the new Spencer High School, although site preparation already has begun.
The ceremony at 1000 Fort Benning Road is scheduled for Friday, starting at 4 p.m.
The construction site is on a 37-acre triangular expanse of land in south Columbus, between the Church’s Chicken on Fort Benning Road and the Family Dollar on Cusseta Road.
The Muscogee County School Board has approved $56 million for the project, funded by the 1 percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax the county’s voters approved 54-46 percent in March 2015. This SPLOST, which started July 1, 2015, will last for five years or until $192,185,000 is collected for 24 MCSD projects.
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The budget breakdown for the project that will produce the new Spencer is as follows:
▪ $49,750,000 for construction.
▪ $2,750,000 for architecture and engineering fees.
▪ $1,600,000 for furniture, fixtures and equipment.
▪ $1,600,000 for contingency.
▪ $180,000 for construction testing.
▪ $70,000 for reimbursable expenses.
▪ $25,000 for environmental and geotechnical expenses.
▪ $25,000 for surveying.
Hecht Burdeshaw of Columbus and 2WR of Columbus are the project’s architects, and Freeman & Associates of Columbus and Ra-Lin & Associates of Carrollton are the construction managers at risk.
The new Spencer, expected to open in August 2018, is designed to comprise 200,000 square feet and 60 classrooms for a capacity of 1,350 students. It will replace the 38-year-old facility off Victory Drive.
The current Spencer, at the time of last year’s SPLOST vote, was in such poor condition, repairs had cost the district more than $3 million in addition to routine maintenance, MCSD communications director Valerie Fuller said then. The main problem has been the building’s expanding cracks because of the “plastic soil” on the property.