The Richardson ISD board of trustees unanimously approved a guaranteed maximum price of more than $18 million for the first phase of a planned expansion and renovation project at Forest Meadow Junior High School during its March 7 meeting.

The first phase of the project will primarily consist of site work addition, including site grading, paving and installing site utilities. Additionally, Phase 1 will include early work for building steel, roofing and electrical infrastructure.

“This is a complex project that will be done in phases,” Assistant Superintendent Sandra Hayes said. “Right now, this will mostly consist of site work and some early bids trying to get good pricing for steel and [other] things that we need for Forest Meadow.”

Proposals for Phase 1 of the project were first received Feb. 7, with district staff, architecture firm Perkins & Will and Core Construction reviewing all submissions.

This improvement project is part of RISD’s larger middle school transformation plan. This large-scale renovations project is aiming to use facility adjustments at junior high campuses over the course of several years to make room for sixth graders, district officials said during a Nov. 15 meeting. The goal is to have construction completed at all campuses by school year 2030-31, according to a district presentation on the 2021 bond earlier this year. Funds from the 2021 RISD bond will be used to pay for the Lake Highlands and Forest Meadow projects.

The district has budgeted over $42 million for the complete scope of the project, which includes two phases. Construction at Forest Meadow is scheduled to be completed by July 2023, Perkins & Will Principal Vandana Nayak said during the Nov. 15 meeting.

Phase 2 of the project is expected to consist of all remaining work necessary for the full middle school transformation project, including updating the fine arts area. The second phase is scheduled to bid in April with a recommendation to the board anticipated in May.