Bartlett school board eyes district office renovations

BCS-small-logoThe Bartlett school board and the public got an early look at the July 27 board meeting of how the board’s district office could appear after renovations.

Currently, the district office is housed in close quarters at Bartlett High School with various departments dispersed throughout the district’s properties.

Renaissance Group in Lakeland is the architectural firm for interior and exterior renovations at the Bartlett Square property the board recently purchased. Doug Burris, senior vice president and partner, presented conceptual drawings and floor plan recommendations for the buildin.

He proposed a facelift that would replace the inefficient window glazing and give a new look to the exterior between the two front stairwells, using a combination of brick, manmade cut stone and painted stucco that will blend with the rest of the building’s exterior. The facelift would also give a central entrance to replace the two current side entrances.

The proposed first-floor lobby would be two stories tall and would be large enough to host district events such as the Bartlett Education Foundation Dinner. Departments likely to have space on the first floor include Human Services, Student Service and Operations, among others. The floor plans currently contain room for departmental growth, such as spaces for nutrition services and transportation, if the district should withdraw from shared services agreements with other districts in the future.

The building will also have spaces for training, multiple conference rooms, work areas, storage, a break room, a community room, a demonstration classroom, a “maker” space that would be useful for professional development on the latest technologies or students needing after-school space to work on their projects, and a large two-story central board room that would seat more than 150 people (in temporary seating so the room is more flexible for multiple uses).

At least for a transition period, the plans will also have to accommodate pre-existing tenants in the building until their leases expire.

Stephens said current estimates are for renovation costs of $60-$65 per square foot, comparing favorably to new construction costs of around $120 per square foot.

Burris estimated that the renovations could go for code review and bidding within the next six to eight weeks. He also estimated that plans, drawings, bidding and contract negotiations would take about three months total.

Stephens said that means work could begin in November at the earliest, with estimated completion about four months later.

The board meeting was the last of the summer before the new school year begins Aug. 7. All board members were present except for Jeff Norris.

For a complete listing of other routine matters the board approved at the meeting, see the agenda at