A new middle school in Argyle ISD is inching out of its bidding process, marking a significant step toward its construction.

Construction Manager Jeff Koehn gave price estimates to the board of trustees Feb. 20 ahead of a final guaranteed maximum price to be presented in March. The new school was part of the 2022 bond and will be the first middle school built for the district. The current Argyle Middle School campus on U.S. 377 was the district's previous high school.

The details

The school will be located along FM 407 in Argyle. The initial anticipated construction cost is almost $89 million, Koehn said. Bidding concluded Feb. 22 with over 400 subcontractors having acquired the documents. The price was inflated to allow for fine tuning during the bidding process, which could reflect a lower amount in the final estimate.

“The interest in the project is very high. We've hit the market at a good time, and there's not a lot of other projects out there right now,” he said. “We're confident we should be bringing you a lower number next month.”

Other factors that could contribute to a different final price are pending until town of Argyle officials dictate any changes to the district regarding the site’s type of fencing, how many trees are allowed and other specifics, Koehn said.

Zooming in

The school will feature a two-story design with the academic wing occupying the second floor, said Keith Cummins, vice president and senior project manager at architecture firm Corgan, at a meeting last month.

Classrooms will be designed uniformly to allow for flexibility, and exposed stone brick will be implemented, reflecting the design of similar projects throughout the district. The design also incorporates breakout study spaces for students, Cummins said.

The first floor would house administrative offices, a cafeteria, a courtyard, a media center and a fine arts center with spaces for band, percussion, choir and theater arts. The athletics area, also on the first floor, will include locker rooms and two gymnasiums, he said.

In the early stages of planning, the school was designed with three gymnasiums, but the district quickly realized it was too expensive, Koehn said. Similar streamlining for space efficiency has helped lower the project’s cost.

Also of note

One issue with the design is it allows just a single access point from the campus to FM 407 that all buses and cars must share, which could cause dangerous congestion for parents, students and staff during pickup and drop-off hours, Superintendent Courtney Carpenter said.

“Our request and recommendation was that our buses come in and out of Postmaster Road to the north [of FM 407],” Carpenter said.

The site plan was tabled following an Argyle Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in January after community members expressed their opposition to the school using Postmaster Road for any of its vehicles and advocated that it be reserved for emergency vehicles, Carpenter said. The district’s concern is that all parents, staff and its 14 buses will be competing for a sole exit onto FM 407, which could pose safety risks.

The district has been addressing the issue with Town Council since January.