WAIT AND SEE: Bailey advises caution on SGCS construction bids

CHURUBUSCO — The construction bids have come in for Smith-Green Community Schools and the board of trustees took a look at them — then had a public work session Aug. 16.But during Monday night’s board meeting Ralph Bailey, interim superintendent, advised the board to continue to ask questions and table the decision until the next board meeting Sept. 4.For the past several months the board had been working on a major construction project which would include a new cafeteria, complete HVAC system, having secure entries for both the elementary and high school, six new classrooms and converting the school to a handicapped-accessible facility.Greg Wehling, vice president of Moake Park Architecture, was on hand to present the bids, as was Dick Moake, CEO.“The bids came in from Fetters Construction at $5,185,600; Sheets Construction at $5,465,600 and Kinder Construction at $5,531,500,” said Wehling.“The lower bids just didn’t come in. The lowest bid was at the higher end of our estimate, but all-in-all I feel they are all fairly competitive,” said Wehling.Todd Fleetwood, business manager and transportation director at SGCS, reminded the board costs of the construction needs to be at $5.2 million in order to be under the current tax levy.Shellie Miller, Churubusco Elementary School principal, did some more research and made some adjustments in her needs.“If we take out the computer labs and make some other shifts I feel confident we would be okay with the plan we came up with today,” said MillerThe reason for her shift is because the enrollment is down in the second and fourth grades.“For the next three years, we’ll be okay,” she said.Fleetwood provided the board and administrators with a list of line items for the construction project in the list of priority.“Below the blue line are our lower priorities,” said Fleetwood.The classroom addition was number 18 on the list as was the secure entry for both schools.Mel Egolf, former school board member and Churubusco resident was on hand and reminded the board of their earlier priorities and wondered why it had changed in the last week.SGCS board member Rick Trump answered his question.“We always knew we’d have to pick and choose items. The people I’ve talked to are happy with the cafeteria and security systems. They really don’t care about HVAC but we know that is important,” said Trump.After the construction bids were tabled the board approved claims. Regular claims totaled $159,562.08 and pre-paid claims were $10,516.71 for a total of $170,078.79. Payroll was $250,587.69 for a grand total of $420,666.48.