New school still on schedule, despite setbacks.
After a few small delays, the new Iotla Valley school is expected to be completed in early June, right on schedule.
The project is the culmination of a long process which began back in December of 1996 and was executed by the joint efforts of both the Macon County Board of Commissioners and the Macon County School Board. The new school is being funded and constructed through the utilization of the interoperability compact between the two boards, and the debt for the cost of the school, which is rounded to about $14 million, will fall solely on the county.
According to Macon County manager Jack Horton, the two contracts held by the county are still on track with the original plans. Commissioners agreed unanimously to award the contract to construct and manage the sewer treatment facility to the Mc- Carroll Construction Company. McCarroll had the lowest bid for the project for a total of $1,263,000.
Five companies placed bids for the construction of the school itself and commissioners awarded the contract to the lowest bidder, H&M contractors. Horton noted that the general contractor for the project, H&M contractors, have had trouble with subcontractors hired out to help complete the project, and despite delays and having to switch crews, the school is still planning to be completed by June, and will hopefully open next school year.
“We are basically on schedule to open the same date as originally anticipated,” said Horton. “Other than having to use some of the contingency funds for unexpected expenses, we are also still on budget with the original estimates. Neither of our contracts with Mc- Carrol or H&M have changed or have had to be altered.”
If the Board of Education approves the current proposed calendar for the 2012/13 school year, school is expected to start on Aug. 6. From the anticipated completion date, until the first day of school, there will be about a two months period to furnish the school and make last minute adjustments to get it ready for students in the fall.
The $14 million dollars allocated from the county to cover the expenditures for the construction of the new Iotla Valley school site did not include a budget to furnish the school site. During a meeting of the Joint Facilities Review Committee, committee member Terry Bell, stated that an estimated $495,000 is needed for necessary furnishings for the school.
The committee is comprised of two Board of Education Members, Tommy Cabe and Tommy Baldwin, as well as Dr. Brigman, Angie Cook, Karen Norton, and David Curtis. The committee also includes County Manager Jack Horton and County Commissioners Ronnie Beale and Kevin Corbin as well as County Finance Office Lori Hall, County Employee Terry Bell, and Architect Mike Watson as well as Iotla Valley Principal Gary Brown.
According to Bell, the $495,000 includes $300,000 for furniture (desks, tables, chairs, shelves), $95,000 for computer hardware, $40,000 for playground equipment, $25,000 for custodial equipment, $10,000 for a school sign, $6,000 for scoreboards, $7,000 for a storage building, and $12,000 for a mower for grounds maintenance.
In order to stay on schedule, Bell noted that at the least, the furniture and the computer hardware needs to be orders right away to allow for enough time for delivery and installation. In order to place an order for the furniture, 50 percent of the $300,000 ($150,000) must be paid upfront, and the remaining balance must be paid by time of delivery.
The furniture needed includes all classroom furniture and would leave one classroom at each grade level unfurnished, which is the same plan carried out when Mountain View Intermediate was constructed.
Neither the $14 million allocated from the county for construction or the $495,000 identified by the Joint Facilities Review committee includes funding for the library, according to Horton. “We didn’t originally budget for the library and we are currently working on a furnishing budget,” said Horton. “We are looking at old school sites to see what items can be used at the new site and evaluating which items needed to be purchased based on priority.”
Horton noted if everything continues to go according to plans, there is around $300,000 in contingency funds available to help with the furnishing budget, which, ideally, would only require an additional $195,000 needed to cover the $495,000 in potential expenditures.
Dr. Brigman and the Board of Education have a walk through of the new school site scheduled for Feb. 23.