McCook Public Schools' board of education, at their monthly meeting Monday evening, authorized the use of special building funds if contingencies in the construction of new classrooms at McCook Elementary exceed the federal stimulus grant awarded to build them.
Superintendent Grant Norgaard told board members that, with some modifications, the actual construction of the wing to house two new special education classrooms will cost less than the $366,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal stimulus grant awarded to MPS and earmarked specifically for special education.
The grant just won't cover contingencies, Norgaard said, and that makes him nervous.
Architect Dave Wilson of W Design said that initial bids came in too high, so they've removed some fencing and concrete, change the design of the art deco-style windows, changed quarry flooring to tile and removed cabinetry.
Norgaard said they have not changed or removed items that will directly effect the learning environment of students.
It's the "unknown," such as buried plumbing and utilities, that may put the project over the grant, Wilson said, recommending a 6 percent fund to pay for the contingencies in the project.
Norgaard stressed that the contingency fund may not be needed, but that he will come back to the board for approval of any expenditure coming from the special building fund. Board president Tom Bredvick said, "We're not writing a blank check. We're being diligent with tax payers' money."
The special building fund has about $110,000 in it now, and will grow to about $200,000 by the end of the fiscal year.
Board member Maury Green's motion to authorize the use of the special building funds for contingency expenses on the expansion project was approved unanimously.
Bredvick said, "Our project in 2004 (that created the single-site McCook Elementary) was a vast improvement (over ward schools). This is another expansion above and beyond."