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Work on a new elementary school, located south of Grant Wood Elementary School in Bettendorf, could start in late June/early July, officials said.

Jeff Cook QUAD-CITY TIMES

Evidence of a new school going up in Bettendorf could be visible in another month, as the Bettendorf School Board has approved issuing the first bid package for work on the district's new elementary school.

Earlier this year, the board agreed to build a new Grant Wood Elementary School, south of the current school building. The total cost is estimated at $16.7 million.

This week, the board voted 5-0 to send out bids for earthwork, or grading, on the site. Board members Scott Tinsman and Betsy Justis were absent from the May 18 special session.

Chris Andrus, director of operations for the Bettendorf Community School District, said the bid package should be sent out on Monday or Tuesday next week. It's the first of 18-20 packages for the total project.

"We are trying to move this project along quickly, and get these initial packages out," he said.

The bids are due by June 13, and Andrus will take them to the June 19 board meeting for consideration. If the first bid is approved, the work will commence after that.

"In late June, or early July, we could see some movement on the site," Andrus said. "That's the hope."

The grading will ready the site for construction. Trees and some playground equipment will be removed for the space needed for the new school, which is slated to open in August 2018.

The next bid package prepared, Andrus said, will probably be for the foundation. In this, the board has already agreed to use an engineer with specialized knowledge of soil and rock bases.

The geotechnical engineer will be paid about $40 per hour, and will observe initial work on the foundation of the new school, offering help and analysis on how to build it safely and effectively.

Use of a geotechnical engineer is an industry standard these days, according to Pete Perez, construction manager for the job, who spoke on the topic in February.

Perez is with the contractors, Estes Construction, Davenport. The school is being designed by Legat Architects, Moline.

Planning for the project traces back to November 2015, when Bettendorf organized its Elementary Facilities Advisory Committee. Bettendorf is wrestling with the need for more classroom space in the land-locked district that is nine square miles in size.

After some starts-and-stops, the go-ahead for the school came four months ago. The board voted 4-3 on Feb. 1 to build the new school at the site, 1423 Hillside Dr., Bettendorf. 

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