Parish school board discusses money for new Junior High gymPublished 12:01am Friday, August 16, 2013
VIDALIA — The magic number for the Concordia Parish School board to build a new gym at Ferriday Junior High School gym is $2.5 million.
Members of the school board Thursday evening delayed an approval of a contract bid to begin construction on the gym, which will be capable of housing 700 people.
The original estimate given by the architecture firm, Barron, Heinberg and Brocato Architects and Engineers of Alexandria, totaled $2.2 million.
The lowest of seven bids from construction firms, however, came in at $2.6 million from Womack and Sons Construction Group.
Superintendent Paul Nelson said there were unforeseen costs, such as a sprinkler system worth approximately $100,000 that was required from the Louisiana state fire marshal that threw the original budgeted price off balance.
Other costs factored into the bid, such as a tarp to cover the gym floor and a particular type of locker inside the gym, could be reevaluated to possibly bring the cost down, Nelson said.
“There seems to be some wiggle room in there that will allow us to bring the project down in price closer to what we were originally thinking,” Nelson said. “There are certain things, however, that we’re not going to comprise on.”
Joe Brocato, a partner with the firm, presented a list of potential cost-cutting measures provided by the construction company.
“The list I have in my hand totals $229,500, but we have not been able to look at individual items with enough detail to say with probity if it’s something you want to live with,” Brocato said. “It’s one thing to reduce money but on the other hand, if it’s something that won’t work out for you in the long term, we think it’s better to spend the money now than have some maintenance problems down the road.”
Some items Brocato mentioned that Nelson and other board members said couldn’t be negotiated were two visiting team locker rooms — one for male and one for female players — and additional basketball goals that would be lowered during physical education classes.
Board member Raymond Riley said he wanted a chance for board members to talk to officials of the construction company and see if there were other cost-cutting measures that could be applied to the project.
“This is a project that I think the kids in Ferriday deserve, but we need to save money and it’s over what we budgeted,” Riley said. “We would like to sit down with these people, and there could be questions that we have that could result in more money saved.”
Board member Fred Butcher said he thought Brocato should have already had those discussions with the construction company and brought a more detailed presentation to the board Thursday in order to help push the project forward.
“I think you’re being inconsiderate to this board to wait until (Thursday) to get some figures instead of bringing a presentation,” Butcher said. “To me, we could have made a decision (Thursday) if the homework had been done.”
Nelson said the plan was to begin the project as soon as possible in order to have the gym complete and ready by August 2014.
Butcher made a motion to table the decision on awarding the bid until a specially called meeting on Thursday, Aug. 29.
Butcher also asked Brocato to meet with members of the board Tuesday, Aug. 27, during a building and ground committee meeting to present a complete list of potential cost-saving measures to the project.