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High school building project on schedule

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By Geoff Hamill

Construction of a new Washington County High School building began in May 2012 and is expected to be complete by March 2014. The $17 million project is currently on-schedule and on-budget.

Kelly Ives, with Lexington-based Ross Tarrant Architects, is the project manager. During Monday evening’s Washington County Board of Education meeting, Ives provided an update on the project status.

“It is currently on schedule to finish before the end of March,” she said. “There’s been some weather delays and there’s been some little delays, but we’re still on-track.”

The board approved a $20,761 change order for the project. Ives explained that the additional cost was due to planning errors.

“There are four line items that combine to equal that $20,761 total,” she said. “Each of the four are either an error or omission from the construction document. One of them being attributed to our M.E. consultant; two of them being structural modifications; and one being an architectural change. All relatively minor, in themselves, in the scope of the whole project.

“The plumbing issue was a lack of coordination between plumbing risers in a certain location and the joists that were supporting the ceiling, so that the risers couldn’t penetrate the floor above, because the joists were in the way. So we had to modify the piping a little bit.”

The latest change order brings total cost additions to approximately $53,000. 

“I hate always showing up to point out all the mistakes that we make, but I can ease that blow by pointing out how minimal these are in the scope of the entire project,” said Ives. “To date, if you approve the change order with the $20,000 add, we will have $53,000 in change orders, at this point. Actually, only $40,000 if you discount the credit that you will receive back from the wind damage, that was approved. So really, $40,000 is less than half-a-percent, and that’s a good spot to be in this far into the construction.”

The architect said the school is more than half finished.

“I want to say 55 to 60-percent complete,” she said. “The building envelope is getting close to being dried-in, but they still have to finish the brick veneer, put in the window units and I think there’s a little bit of roofing still to complete. At that point, they’ll have it all what they call dried-in and they’ll begin putting in interior finishes.

Ives projected the building would be under-roof within two months.

After approving the construction change order, the board discussed the financial viability of school-supported day care, in light of recent deficits.

“Day care will only continue to operate if it is profitable,” said Superintendant Robin Cochran. “It doesn’t need to make hand-over-fist money, we’re not looking for that. But we have to have a cushion. Even though it’s a great service for our communities and our families, and so forth, the general fund just doesn’t have the money.”

Board finance officer Judy Spalding said recent losses were no reason to be overly concerned.

“We’re looking for two to three months operating,” she said. “But a little bit of loss at the elementary school - for it to be that little bit, they still have a very good beginning and ending balance. That doesn’t concern me, because you want to be kind of profitable in government, but you don’t want it big. You need to realize also – we don’t charge them overhead. If we charged overhead, these numbers would be vastly different. You want to provide a service, but we’re looking really closely to make sure those numbers go back up.”

The board approved a contract with Central Kentucky Headstart of Lebanon, to blend services for the center located in Willisburg to provide preschool services for eligible at-risk 4-year old children and children ages 3-5 with disabilities.

In other business, the board approved:

- a fidelity performance bond of treasurer.

- a marquee sign design for the new high school;

- Liberty Mutual to provide builder’s risk coverage for $20,578.

- an eighth grade trip to New York City with sponsors Rhoda Whitaker and Gala Hollon;

- a WCHS football team trip to Campbellsville University, July 29-August 1, for football camp.

- participation in the Transitional Opportunities Pilot Program, and;

- addition of a vocational rehabilitation coordinator with corresponding salary.