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School prepares cost breakdown of building plans before bond measure

Posted 1/19/16 (Tue)

By Jody Michael
Divide County school officials are hoping a cost breakdown for each part of their building plans will help patrons understand their request for $9.9 million in bonds up for vote Feb. 9.
At its regular board meeting Monday last week, the board reviewed preliminary cost estimates that architectural firm EAPC is working to finalize before the first public meeting regarding the bond measure, which is Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Noonan Community Center.
The final dollar figures will also give the district a better sense of exactly how many of the various additions and renovations it can fulfill with $9.9 million, and which parts of the previous $20 million proposal to set aside.
“One thing we’re just looking at for future use would be a second gymnasium in the high school,” Board Member Steve Feil said. “That’s in our future plans; we don’t know whether it will be possible in this current plan.”
Higher on the priority list, but still up in the air, are two of the five additional high school classrooms that the district is seeking.
“Through the committee discussion and some feedback we received, we’ve drawn it up so we’re proposing three classrooms,” Superintendent Sherlock Hirning said. “If the bids are low enough, we could add in two classrooms.”
The current plan of three classrooms at the high school, plus four and an elevator in the elementary building, along with  remodeling of various spaces, has a current estimate of $9.3 million, based on EAPC’s projections of $250 per square foot for new construction and $175 per square foot for remodeling.
This leaves the two extra high school classrooms, which would add somewhere around another $1 million to the cost, in flux, but within the realm of possibility.
“If the bids come in as low as they were in Powers Lake during their project, including the two additional classrooms, it would come in at $10,120,000, which is not very much over the $9.9 million,” Hirning said. “That isn’t something we would know until we receive bids.”
One of those two classrooms would serve as a STEAM lab -- science, technology, engineering, art and math -- that Hirning said would help fill a deficiency as those fields receive more focus globally.
“If we aren’t providing it here, our students are going to be at a disadvantage,” said Hirning.
More staffing woes
Last month’s news that the school district would soon be fully staffed was ultimately short-lived.
The board hired a vo-ag instructor from West Virginia at last month’s meeting, but Hirning said she backed out at the last minute with a change of plans.
Additionally, Tracy Brudwick, one of the two sixth-grade teachers, submitted a letter of resignation.