• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Over budget, but underway

SCSD approves bid packages for new middle school and fine arts addition
Story Construction Project Manager Randy Johnson (left) sits with school board directors Dan Coons, Rick Jedlicka and Dean Martin as the board discusses bid packages for the middle school and high school addition. (Photo by Jen Moore)

SOLON– Sure, the cost might be more than they thought, but the end result will be well worth it, according to Solon school board members.
The board unanimously approved recommended bid packages, plus several alternates, for the new middle school and fine arts addition at a special meeting Monday, June 15.
The price tag is expected to be a little over $27 million, approximately $1.5 million over the $25.5 million dollar bond the community approved last year.
Vice President Rick Jedlicka wasn’t worried about the extra cost, however.
“The community was very much in support of this project as a whole,” Jedlicka said. “The plan is outstanding and I think we will look back and be very pleased with the end result.”
Before approving the bid, the board discussed possible alternate packages with representatives from construction manager Story Construction and Struxture Architects.
While some of the packages would cost the district extra, others would provide cost savings.
One alternative would have saved the district almost $219,000 by using Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) in place of terrazzo for common areas in the middle school and high school addition. Struxture recommended staying with the terrazzo– a composite flooring comprising bits of marble, glass, quartz or granite materials– citing higher durability than the LVT.
Struxture partner Craig Schwerdtfeger said the terrazzo could be expected to last the lifetime of the building, while the LVT might need replacing in approximately 20 years.
The board elected to spend the extra money because of the longer lifespan and the preferred look of terrazzo over the LVT.
“The look of it is significantly more aesthetically pleasing than the vinyl,” said Superintendent Sam Miller.
“We’re trying to save money where we can, but at the same time we (try to do) things the right way, from educating kids to doing extracurricular activities, to– I hope– facilities,” Jedlicka added.
Other alternatives the board approved for the middle school included an outdoor hard surface area and basketball court and extra bleachers for the gymnasium for $98,954 and $27,337 respectively.
The board deemed both necessary, as the recreation area would most likely cost more to put in later, and, without the extra bleachers, the gymnasium would not have enough seating for all-student assemblies.
Using batt, or pre-cut, insulation instead of spray insulation and going with LED lighting instead of conventional lights were also approved alternatives. The batt insulation would save the district $31,400 while the LED lights would cost another $65,000.
Board members had no concern spending extra money now if it meant getting the projects done right, and they stressed that they weren’t simply spending money just to spend.
“I don’t want to… act like we have an open checkbook because that’s not the case,” Jedlicka said. “Anything we can do to make sure we’re saving everywhere we can… would be great.”
Miller said the district was in a great place financially and that the additional $1.5 million could either be taken from the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL), or from bonding against Secure an Advancing Vision for Education (SAVE) dollars.
He felt it was worth spending the extra money to get exactly what the district wanted.
“I think these are things you do. The district is in a great position and the fact is we have the ability to fund this the right way,” Miller said. “We’re too close to this to have a decision like that and really lose some of the public enthusiasm for this project.”
President Dick Schwab added that even though the project was running over budget, spending the extra money would have little effect on the ability to fund future projects; specifically, a fourth attendance center the district has been discussing.
Even if the board chose not to add the alternates, he said, it wouldn’t change the fact that the attendance center would still, most likely, end up being a major remodel of the current middle school, and not an entirely new building.
In addition to these bid packages, the board also approved a separate, $42,007 contract with Interconnex to add wireless networking to both the middle school and the high school addition.