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JFK project moves forward

SPRING VALLEY – The Spring Valley Elementary School Board took a step forward in the John F. Kennedy School building expansion project during a special meeting on Tuesday.

At last week’s board meeting, board members asked architects from Allied Design of Springfield to come up with a total cost of recommended reductions for the project. 

Currently, the project cost is sitting at $17.2 million, which is over the district’s budget.  The district is sitting on $12.2 million from the state, $4 million from a local share and $920,000 in bond funds for the project. The desire to spend $1.4 million for air conditioning in the existing JFK school building had also been a reason to find cuts in the project.

The recommended reductions from Allied Designs and HDR Electrical total $134,222. With these, the new building would be able to maintain the same quality of lower maintenance costs.

Allied Designs also came up with $639,839 of all possible reduction costs, but warned they would reduce the quality of the building beyond positives of short-term cost savings.

“If you were to go with the recommended reductions, we’d see a total project cost of $17.1, and of that you’d have a building and site construction of $14.9 and 5 percent contingencies or $112,000 of leftover funds that could go toward the air conditioning project,” Ben Dockter of Allied Design said. “If you were to take all possible reductions, you would have a total cost of $16.5 million, which would bring the base bid of $14.4 million and 5 percent contingencies of $643,000 left over.”

Superintendent Jim Hermes reminded the board contingency funds aren’t solid ground, and it’s not for certain what will come of them.

Board President Ray Nolasco confirmed with no cuts the project would eat up the local and state share and any other monies committed to the project.

“Anything we might save is what comes out of the contingency amount,” he said.

After stringing the numbers, the board realized no matter what cuts were made, they’d still be short $1.4 million for the desired air conditioning unit.

Board member Jack Kusek suggested the possibility of rejecting the current bids, making changes to the general design and rebidding the general construction work of the project.

“Granted it’s going to be a substantial amount of work to redesign the structural and put it out to bid. We’ll probably lose two months in schedule,” he said. Kusek said with his numbers, however, it would put the project on budget and allow enough money for air conditioning.

Bill VanDusen of Allied Construction said the idea would impact more than just general construction work.

“What would end up being changed essentially is everything,” he said. “You might as well take our drawings, throw them in the waste can and start all over again.”

VanDusen said going into the design process they knew they’d be tight with the budget. Adding the air conditioning unit to the project was never intended to encompass the project. He said there was no way they could squeeze it into the project budget.

“It was intended to be if money leftover in the contingency it would be applied toward air conditioning of the existing building,” he said. “There is no way you can do both this building and air conditioning without finding an additional source of income.”

VanDusen said they do have the ability to get the project under construction and once “out of the ground” see how much contingency money is left over to go toward air conditioning.

“I think when you try to add air conditioning when it was not a part of the scope of this work, it’s a defeated scenario,” he said.

In the end, the board decided to take the recommended reductions of $134,222 and work out the air conditioning detail later. They accepted the low bid of HVAC and electrical, which was previous reported to be Commercial Mechanical Inc. of Dunlap in the amount of $1.9 million and JB Contracting for electrical for $1.9 million.

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