Leader Blues

Friday, June 05, 2009

TOP STORY >> School construction costs remain $14M

By JOAN McCOY
Leader staff writer

The Cabot School Board learned this week that the cost of the combination building on the high school campus that will be used for health, physical education and recreation as well as a cafeteria and amphitheater (HPER/cafeteria) will likely cost the same as it was expected to cost five years ago when it was first on the drawing board.

Dr. Tony Thurman, the school superintendent, told the board Tuesday that although nothing is final, the building will likely cost $14 million, including the $773,000 that architect Steve Elliott will be paid.

As with all construction projects, the school district is the contractor and all the bids are from companies that will supply various parts of the new structure such as electrical, plumbing, windows, flooring, gym seating and the like.

“We were thinking a lot higher so we were very pleased,” Thurman told the board.

To get ready for construction to begin, some buildings will be torn down; others will be relocated and programs will be moved to new homes. The project is expected to be completed in 30 months.

The HPER/cafeteria is among $50.5 million in projects that were made possible by the 3.9 percent millage increase voters approved last year. In addition to work on the high school campus, several additions and improvements district-wide, the millage increase is helping to fund an elementary building estimated at $11.3 million.

To get the site ready to start the dirt work this summer, Thurman said the old metal agriculture building and the old concession stand will have to be removed. The ROTC building will be moved to Junior High South and used as an activity building. The old counseling center will also be removed.

The ROTC program will move to the former media center on the high school campus once the renovations are completed.

Those renovations are expected to be completed by the time school starts in August.

The agriculture program will move to the S-Building on the high school campus. Once the HPER/cafeteria is completed, the S-Building. will be renovated for additional classroom space.

The existing cafeteria will be renovated for a modern agriculture education center.

The current bus drive through the center of the high school campus will move to the front of the Career and Technical Center (formerly Champs Hall).

The current Fine Arts Center will be renovated once construction on the HPER/cafeteria has been completed and will share a lobby with the new HPER/cafeteria.

Construction is winding down on the new Junior High North that started almost two years ago and it is expected to be ready for students in the fall. The original Junior High North burned three years ago.

The portables that have been used since the fire to house students are scheduled to be removed in the next two weeks, Thurman told the board.

The new Junior High North will be larger than the original, 127,282 square feet compared to 102,400 square feet. It will cost the $13.5 million with furnishings.

Four additional classrooms will open in the fall at Westside Elementary. The dirt work is under way at the new Mountain Springs Elementary that is expected to open in the fall of 2010.

The district also is negotiating the purchase of the Funtastic building on Hwy. 321 for $1.3 million. It will be used for the district’s alternative school and charter school. Thurman said renovations will likely not be completed by the time school starts.