CG-B officials reluctant to make major changes to reduce expense of high-school addition
The Cedar Grove-Belgium School Board may have more difficult decisions to make regarding its new fitness center and multipurpose room after being told bids for architectural work came back higher than expected.
Keith Isken, vice president/chief operations officer at Jos. Schmitt Construction, the contractor for the project, told the board last week that if it accepts the bids as presented, the project would be $198,000 over its $1.4 million budget.
“We came up with some options to bring the project closer to budget, but I don’t think any one option will bring it all the way back right now,” Isken said.
The first option is to leave the project as is, well over budget.
The second option, Isken said, would be to cut different parts of the project but not significantly alter the footprint of the addition. It also would likely not require re-approval from the state, he said.
This option would include lowering the height of the storage rooms that will be built on the north side of the addition to 12 feet and the fitness room by about five feet.
Other changes include eliminating a ceiling grid from the fitness room and replacing it with a painted deck, removing a shower in the coach’s office of the renovated locker room and replacing countertops in the locker room with individual sinks.
In all, the changes will knock off about $60,000, leaving the project about $140,000 over budget.
That received a favorable response from the board, but more changes will have to be made.
“The number is scary and there is no equipment yet, but it’s better to have options that we can say no to,” Supt. Jeanne Courneene said, noting the bids did not include workout equipment like treadmills and weights.
The board rejected installing vinyl flooring in the multipurpose room, which could have saved $32,000. The flooring isn’t considered high-quality and board members were concerned with maintenance and upkeep.
“We have to think about what the floor is going to be used for,” board member Nancy Niebauer said, noting the room will be used primarily by the wrestling team in the winter.
A third option presented by Isken included reducing the project by 1,000 square feet and moving storage rooms into the fitness area while reducing the size of the multipurpose room.
Although those changes could reduce costs by about $130,000, board members didn’t seem interested in losing that much space.
“I would not compromise on the square footage,” board member Todd Bucher said.
“I am not a fan of reducing the footprint or putting storage in the multipurpose room,” board member Jim Lautenschlaeger added.
“If I came to the board and wrote a check for $200,000, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. It again comes down to the almighty dollar.”
If the board ultimately decides to reduce the footprint, it would require state approval, Kurt Davis, senior vice president at Abacus Architects said, meaning construction likely wouldn’t begin this spring as planned.
“I would not like to do that if we don’t have to,” Niebauer said.
Davis attributed the high bids to a high demand for summer projects at this time.
“The scope and vision of this project has grown and contractors are pretty busy right now,” he said. “That is reflective in some bid overage.”
Isken said bids remain confidential because “we want leverage in negotiations as we move forward,” adding bids for mechanical portions of the project like HVAC and fire protection came in favorable.
The board is still hoping to secure naming rights for the fitness center and multipurpose room in the near future, which could pare costs further.