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West renovations approved

"Of the past 15 school projects I've supervised, this District has been among the best I have worked with," said Steve Posthumus, Bosshardt's superintendent for construction on the New Richmond elementary school. "This is a great group of caring people in this District."

Posthumus began the Wednesday, Feb. 13, School Board meeting with a Power Point update on the progress of the new elementary building.

"The south wall of the gym is up and we will be pouring the floor tomorrow (Valentine's Day)," Posthumus said. "We will be roofing the grades two and three wing by next week. The first section we worked on is the fifth and sixth grade wing. That area is under roof and there is lighting in there."

"The weather needs to cooperate for roofing," Posthumus explained. "We haven't lost a lot of time due to weather. We knew going in this was a fast-paced project and I feel real good about where the job is right now."

In other business:

• Brian Johnston, director of fiscal and building operations, said the next bond purchased by the District for the construction project will be priced lower than originally projected due to lower interest rates.

Brian Brewer, financial advisor from Baird Company, told Board members the rate was in the 4.2-4.3 percent range right now. Johnston is waiting for Brewer's recommendation regarding when would be the most beneficial time for the second phase of borrowing.

• Frank Norton, West Elementary School principal, presented a Power Point outlining the final design of West's renovations which shaved $935,500 off the previous estimate which was $1.6 million over budget.

Norton said some cost-cutting changes included modifying kitchen renovations to save $257,000; decreasing the size of a generator for a savings of $35,000; reducing some plumbing work to save $45,000 and changing the floor back to VCT from linoleum which saved $90,000.

The remodeling design is still $579,877 over budget, but Morrie Veilleux, District administrator, suggested the Board "bite the bullet and approve this proposal."

One cost surprise to the District was that architects ATS&R priced replacing the HVAC system on 20 classrooms, when in reality there are 30 classrooms.

Veilleux said he is hoping for lower bids than projected and to make up some of the difference with the sales tax savings the District will receive on materials, as they are tax exempt. All cost predictions include sales tax.

"We need to do what we told taxpayers we were going to do," Veilleux said.

The Board approved the budget, redesign and authorization to put the job out for bid.

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