Winooski Schools Awarded $57.8 Million Loan for Campus Expansion
The Winooski Schools Campus Expansion project received some good news last week, with the announcement that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted a low-interest loan of $57.8 million for the construction of their new campus.
The USDA Rural Development Program invests about $200 million in Vermont communities each year, and this package for Winooski Schools is the largest single facilities loan the USDA has ever issued in Vermont. The financing package will save taxpayers approximately $11 million over the life of the loan due to the low interest rate, according to Winooski School District Finance Manager Nicole Mace.
TruexCullins worked closely with the Winooski School District, ReArch Company, and the USDA Rural Development team over the past few months to complete the extensive process to qualify for the loan. “This investment is great news for the project,” said Cam Featherstonhaugh, project manager for TruexCullins, “and reinforces the positive support that this project has received from the community at large.”
The unprecedented size of the rural development loan reflects the unique scale of the Winooski Schools project, currently the largest school construction project in the state. With this expansion, the current building footprint will grow by 45%, to a total area of 215,000 square feet.
The Winooski Schools campus is really three schools in one, housing students from Pre-K through 12th grade. The campus combines a Pre-Kindergarten program, the JFK Elementary School, and the Winooski Middle and High Schools. The building currently serves 850 students and over 200 faculty and staff, and is expected to grow to 1,000 students in the next 3-5 years.
Construction of the expansion and renovation project began this summer and will occur over 5 phases and take about 26 months. The ReArch Company is now on site, pouring foundations and laying utilities. Work will continue this summer with concrete and structural steel.
The project addresses critical infrastructure needs, modernizes educational space for twenty-first century learning, and supports the District’s growing student body. Major aspects of the project include:
- An expansion of the middle and elementary schools, with open-air courtyards for outdoor gathering and learning.
- A new entry lobby provides for a more universal welcome for students and families, many of whom are not native English speakers. The lobby functions as a “Town Square” and connects to a health center, Library, Performing Arts Center, Administrative Offices, and a café, with easy access to the adjacent learning wings and cafeteria.
- New support spaces include a gymnasium and performing arts center.
- Geothermal heating and cooling and a vastly improved building envelope will make this a true Low-Energy building. The building will be solar-ready and will support up to a 700 Kw solar array.
- The interiors will be made more healthy for students and staff, with increased natural light, fresh air, and safe, non-toxic materials.
Construction is scheduled to be complete in 2022.