Saturday, January 17, 2009

High School Project Over-budget

Quietly at the Jan 12 FTT meeting, those few in attendance heard that the current projection for the existing high school remodel is over-budget. Of course you won't hear this on-camera at a full school board meeting. That is, of course, until one of our Elite Eight reads this blog and then tries to "spin" its version of things.

Of course, when we were told that the projections were to exceed the budget, we weren't given any indication of HOW MUCH the projections were over-budget. And the announcement was quickly followed up by a statement that the portion of the "Upper Middle School" (8-9) project that was over-budget MAY be offset by any cost-savings from the new high school project.

After a few pointed questions to Michael Huffman, the district's hired construction representative, however, we got the answer: the project is currently projected to be over-budget by between $300,000 and 400,000.

Huffman quickly added that the project hadn't gone out to bid yet, and they are hoping to make up the projected shortfall either there or via adjustments to sitework.

District to purchase more land for the high school site?
The original plan was to connect the existing high school and the new high school via a Marshview Road connection. There has been some difficulty in doing so, however, because the planned access way impacts a wetlands area. Consequently, the District has been quietly working to acquire "2-3 parcels of land".

When this factoid was elicited, Dr. Culver was quick to point out that the original Referendum Question #1 allowed for the purchase of land for the project. Did you miss that when you voted?

Hmmmm...didn't see a line item about the costs of property acquisition in the high school design information. Wonder how that might affect the budget. One also has to wonder (can you hear the legal fees mounting) if purchase of property will have to be approved at an elector's meeting--as is the law--or whether by voting approval of the referendum question, the referendum vote itself constitutes an elector's meeting. Care to guess what the district's position will be?
Referendum Question 1:
Shall there be issued, pursuant to Chapter 67, Wisconsin Statutes, General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $96,000,000 for the purpose of paying the cost of constructing and equipping a new high school for grades 10 through 12 on the district-owned Highway N site;
acquiring property adjacent to the Highway N site for additional access, if necessary; and remodeling the
existing high school building into a school for grades 8 and 9?