Gatton Academy renovation bidding process to begin this week

Shantel-Ann Pettway

The bidding process for the expansion of Florence Schneider Hall, which houses the Gatton Academy, will begin on March 3 or 4 said Kerra Ogden, project manager for Capital Construction.

Project bidding numbers were to be received in the Planning, Design and Construction department on Feb. 26, Bryan Russell, chief facilities officer, said via email. However, due to the winter storm that began on Feb. 16, the process had to be pushed back. 

There are roughly eight general contractors looking to bid on the this project, Ogden said.

“We feel that on this size project, which is about $7.5 million, having seven or eight bidders is a pretty good number,” Ogden said. 

The funding for this project came from a state funding increase, which goes toward paying tuition, housing and meal plans for the students of Gatton, said Gatton Academy director Lynette Breedlove.  

Breedlove said third-party private funding is actually paying for the renovations. 

“The legislative funding was incentive for us to accept more students into the academy, but private funding is what is paying for the renovations,” Breedlove said. 

Renovations to Gatton Academy are being done to expand upon bed space so more students can be accepted into the academy.

“There are currently 60 females and 60 males [at Gatton] and they wanted to expand the number from 120 to 200 students in the academy,” Ogden said. “So we are renovating the space to add 80 beds to the building space,” she said.

Ogden and the selected contractor will also be working to create more storage space and space for the entire college to meet together. 

“There is a space on the fourth floor where all the students can get together and the space is really really tight,” said Ogden. 

During the time of the renovation, Gatton students and staff will be housed in Bates-Runner Hall, Ogden said. 

The renovation will begin in May 2015 and be completed by June 2016.

For the upcoming academic year, Gatton has 60 spots to be filled and has already received 200 applications.

Breedlove said getting into Gatton is a competitive process. 

The expansion to the academy allows more students to be accepted, which is important to Breedlove. 

“I rather send out more acceptance letters than sorry we can’t accept you,” Breedlove said.

Overall, Gatton Academy is excited to grow alongside the WKU community. 

“I’m excited about the renovation,” Breedlove said. “We appreciate being a part of the WKU community because the people are warm and friendly, and Gatton wants to be a contributing factor of that community.”