Superintendent's Message

Message from the Superintendent -- Construction Update -- January 23, 2011

To the Meridian Community,

I would like to thank the Meridian Community for your support of our schools and your input into the design of the Meridian High School project. A very fine plan has emerged from the process and the scope of the overall project has come clearly into focus.  From the conception of the project is was the intention of the district to have all of the new construction and building modifications completed by the late fall of 2012. The district has been on schedule to meet that timeline since the bond passed just under one year ago.
At all points in the project our effort was to "front fund" the vast majority of the project and utilize the state matching funds, for which the district is eligible, to provide contingency and funding for "bid alternates" to the main project.  Currently the eligible "matching dollars" for the Meridian High School project are in a state of uncertainty in Olympia. We have become aware that it may take some months before the district is informed about the funding for our particular project.  This is to say the least, disappointing to myself, the school board and I am sure the community as a whole.
Although this may be a setback to the overall timeline of the project, the district and our construction team are actively working on strategies to repackage the project into an alternate phasing plan that will meet with state approval so that the project can begin to move forward. As of January 24, 2011 the district has not received approval on any potential solutions that would allow us to proceed in a prudent fiscal manner. We continue to work on this daily.
Our plan of action includes taking our case to Olympia directly.  The district will be testifying this week to the legislature regarding the capital funding that is so critical for Meridian. The district is also actively working with state to craft a solution that would allow the project to move forward in phases that could be initially funded with our local bond dollars.  At this point the district is awaiting a definitive word from the state on the matching funds for our project and a number of phasing options we have put forth for consideration.
On a bright note, our application for the Meridian Middle School renovation/ reconstruction project was formally accepted this past week.  While there are not currently funds available for the project, it does place our district "in line" with the state.  At this point all three of our major projects (Meridian High School, Irene Reither Primary School and Meridian Middle School) are accepted by the state and approved to proceed to the next stage.  Our planning on the MHS building project and foresight of the school board to apply for the IRPS and MMS projects has placed our district in a position to be able to take advantage of funding that may come forth in future years. A word of thanks to the Zervas Group Architecture firm, the Construction Services Group and especially the Meridian School Board for taking the necessary steps to place the district in such a positive long term position. These steps will be to the long term benefit of the children in Meridian and our community as a whole.
I am hopeful that we will soon be working on the new Meridian High School.  Your patience and understanding is appreciated.
Dr. Timothy S. Yeomans, Superintendent
Meridian School District