Archive for Thursday, October 16, 2008

USD 491 projects over budget

Construction continues at the site of the new elementary school.

Construction continues at the site of the new elementary school.

October 16, 2008

Construction consultant Don Swartz told the Eudora USD 491 at its meeting on Thursday that projects associated with the bond issue were exceeding the budget.

The new $27 million elementary school and middle school expansion are over budget and the bids for the additions to the high school are coming in higher than expected.

USD 491 Superintendent Don Grosdidier said the actual amount by which the projects are exceeding the budget were not available.

“There are lots of variables and contingencies that are involved in the budgets in regards to these buildings,” he said. “So, it’s difficult to give a finite number as to how much it is over at any given time.”

Variables that have added to the budget include a $3.9 million HVAC system and a $2.3 million roof that will save the district money in the long run.

The cost associated with disposing of wetlands and old gas wells on the property of the elementary school also added to the elementary school budget And although they recently received a FEMA grant for over $500,000 to build a tornado safety room in the commons of the new elementary school, the district still has to pay $113,000 of its own money for the project.

The new elementary school will cost about will house students in grades first through fifth and will open in fall 2009. It is the largest project associated with the $45 million bond issue passed by Eudora voters last November.

“The clear message from the community was that it was the flagship project of the bond issue and that it needed to be large enough to sustain growth,” Grosdidier said. People did not want to see that project cut to the point were five years down the line, the school district would be coming back and saying ‘We need another elementary school.’”

Grosdidier said he and the board were confident that all projects would be completed.

In other actions, the Board:

• Met in executive session for more than one hour to discuss its displeasure with architectural and design firm DLR, though the quality of designs were not the issue.

Grosdidier could not comment on what the issues were.

“We’re not satisfied with our architects at this point in time and we’re going to be addressing those issues with them and our legal counsel,” he said.

At this time, DLR still is contracted and working on projects.

• Further discussed naming options for the new elementary school and the early learning center. Grosdidier told the board the name of the new elementary school should reflect the flexible education programs that will exist there, so he didn’t want to call it a primary school.

For the early learning center, which will be located in what now is West Elementary School, Grosdidier suggested Eudora West Early Childhood and Family Center.

The discussion was tabled.

• Approved sections L and M of the Board Policy Handbook

• Approved the Board Policy on bullying.

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