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.”

  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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