New Elementary Planned for Deer Creek Area near Oklahoma City

Deer Creek School Board members have taken another step to hurry construction of a fourth elementary school.

During their special meeting Wednesday, board members approved a contract with CMS Willowbrook Construction Inc. to serve as construction manager, contingent upon a review of the document by the district's attorney.

The company will receive 6.8 percent of the cost of the project. The school, which will be built near Danforth and State Highway 74, is estimated to cost about $7 million, but has not been put out for bid yet.

"The only possibility of opening in August 2008 is with construction management," said Superintendent Rebecca Wilkinson.

When a district uses a construction manager, that company handles the bidding process and oversees the project to make sure it stays on schedule.

Socrates Lazaridis, with Renaissance Architects, said his employees will do all they can to finish plans for the school quickly so that construction can start. Lazaridis said he was scheduled to finish plans by September but now will try to have them done by July.

"The timetable is tight but we'll do our best to make it happen," Lazaridis said.

If there are no big problems with construction or weather, the school could open in August 2008, Wilkinson said, but if the project isn't finished by then, students could start at the school after Christmas break that school year or after spring break in the 2008-09 school year.

Wilkinson said that since CMS managed the Rose Union Elementary School construction, employees should be able to work quicker since the new school will basically be the same design. District employees have specified that the district should have the same CMS construction supervisor through the whole project, she said. The district received a new supervisor near the end of the Rose Union project.

Board members also agreed in a meeting earlier this month to seek a lease-purchase agreement with a bank to fund part of the project so that it can be started sooner. The district will repay the bank when it sells bonds. The district cannot start a project unless it has all of the money available, but the lease-purchase, which is similar to a line of credit, will give the district the money until it sells more bonds.

The district will draw half the bond money for the project in September but cannot issue the remainder of the bonds until later.