AHS construction delayed

Budget cuts made to the Ashland High School construction project have set the project behind schedule at least a month, said Gary DeCock, project manager with Heery International. Members of the Capital Projects Advisory Committee advised the school board Monday night to use the $1.94 million in unallocated interest to bolster the projects rather than continue to cut.

Since cost estimates for the high school came back from Adroit Construction nearly $2 million over budget in May, district officials and design team members have eliminated the indoor running track and balcony, green roof and many engineering changes that don't affect the scope of the project.

Neither the demolition nor building permits for the high school have been issued by the city because the architects waited to apply until the project was back on budget, DeCock said. He expects the demolition permit any day and the building permit within a few weeks.

"We had hoped to have demolition begin before school ended," he said. "It's going to affect us some, yes, but Adroit is factoring that in."

Committee members said they feared demolition may not be complete by the time school starts again.

"I'm a little concerned that we're still a month into summer and we haven't seen any demolition," said committee member Alan DeBoer. "We've lost a third of the summer if not more."

DeBoer also said he thought the projects were moving along smoothly and the district was doing a good job budgeting overall.

The committee outlined project features targeted for trimming that it believed deserved extra spending, such as covered outdoor walkways, improvements to the music rooms and scene shop and maintaining the original size of the planned gym.

"I think it's unfortunate that we're doing these nickel-and-dime things when you still have $2 million in your pocket," said committee member Rick Barth. "It would have been way better to belly up, put the money down and get going."

Members encouraged the district to look for money-saving opportunities in the details, however. For example, white concrete planned for the high school has already been replaced with basic gray, because it was slated for painting anyway.

The other major construction project, rebuilding Bellview Elementary, is also awaiting a building permit from the city. The district has completed the land purchase from the Bellview Grange needed to obtain the permit, and it has received the demolition permit, DeCock said. Demolition should begin this week.

Both schools are scheduled for completion before school reopens in the fall of 2009.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or .

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