Van Buren School District has hired a construction management firm it has worked with previously to oversee the building of the district’s new elementary school.

Board members Christy Mayo, Kevin Bell, Theresa Bell and Lance Lanier voted Tuesday evening to support Dr. Harold Jeffcoat’s recommendation to hire Nabholz Construction.

Nabholz, one of nine firms which expressed interest in the 500-student school on a 21-acre site north of Interstate 40, was the construction manager for King Elementary School.

“We had the past relationship with King, and Nabholz worked with schools of similar size all over the state,” Jeffcoat said. “They are a good fit.”

The list had been trimmed to three - C.R. Crawford Construction, Baldwin and Shell and Nabholz - from the list that also included Clark Construction, Flintco, Van Horn, Milestone, Kinco and Breashers.

A VBSD committee interviewed the finalists on Monday before making the recommendation which Jeffcoat presented to the board.

“Nabholz has a good reputation all over the state,” Jeffcoat said. “And, our positive history with Nabholz pushed them over the others.”

Kevin Bell noted the school district is fortunate to have the quality construction managers it has in the area.

The new school on Northridge Drive will be about 60,000 square feet and is estimated to cost about $12 million.

In April, the Arkansas Facilities Division announced it had approved $5.3 million in state funding to help construct VBSD’s seventh elementary school.

As part of the state requirements, the district has 18 months to enter into a contract for construction and 48 months to complete the school.

Following the hiring of Nabholz, Jeffcoat said the district will move into a preconstruction phase with the architects.

“Nabholz will make sure we don’t over-extend and stay within our budget during the planning stage,” Jeffcoat said. “We hope to move some dirt in March 2018 and have students in the classrooms by August 2020.”

Construction of the yet-unnamed school is expected to take 14 months.

During the 2018-19 school year, the district will begin the process of determining what to do with City Heights Elementary School and Izard Center for Learning, both located in 50-plus year old buildings.

“We don’t know what they will be yet, but changes will be made to re-purpose the buildings,” Jeffcoat said.

A full rezone for the elementary schools also will be considered.

Jeffcoat said Nabholz also will assist VBSD with its track replacement project at Van Buren High School and the update of the VBHS cafeteria serving area.

The track renovation will include new drainage for the field, new concession stand with restrooms and a new main entrance. The VBHS cafeteria will be redesigned to allow for greater meal options for students and improved operational efficiency for staff.