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.”

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