School projects postponed 8.13

Written by David Green.

Don’t expect to see new exterior doors when entering Morenci’s elementary and high school this fall. Parking lots will remain in their rough condition and the old classroom floor tile in elementary school classrooms will stay in place for another year.

Bids for a host of maintenance projects came in far above estimates and work won’t get underway any time soon.

Voters approved a bond issue for the projects totaling $1.4 million and work was expected to be completed this summer.

The time needed to authorize and sell bonds for the project took longer than expected, but when bids were finally opened, school officials were surprised at the prices.

The bids came in about 37 percent higher than projected, Superintendent of Schools Kyle Griffith said. The board’s building and grounds committee will recommend that the board reject all bids and try again over the winter.

Griffith agrees because he wants to make the best use of funds.

“Although this is disappointing, we must be careful with the funds we have, as well as keep the trust of the voters who passed this bond in trying economic times.”

Griffith said the 37 percent discrepancy  is not acceptable. Some reasons exist for the differences between projected costs and bid costs, but the reasons aren’t solid enough to explain the enormous disparity.

Griffith expects to see a larger number of bidders participating when the process starts over this winter.

One project will be completed this summer since preparations had already begun. The elementary school gymnasium floor was scheduled for replacement and tile was removed last month. The district will seek its own bids for that project, Griffith said, rather than using the Skanska construction management firm.

Because the running track was expected to be torn up for replacement, the opening football game against Oakland Christian School was moved to Adrian College.

Griffith said a decision was made to play at the college even though Morenci’s field will be available.

“Arrangements have already made to have it there,” he said, “and it will be a great experience for our kids to play there.”

  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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