Brownwood school trustees received a detailed report on construction progress and schedules at Monday’s board meeting, and then were told that funding would be available to complete the projects essentially the way they were shown voters who approved the package in February 2005.
“In summary, there is a plan to fund the projects that were committed to,” Dr. Sue Jones, superintendent, said after presenting a financial report of the district’s fund balance and money in the total that has been reserved for specific expenses.
“Some of the parking lots may be several years in being reworked, though, and that may take a few summers.”
Jones said at least $2.1 million remains available for the school district to complete planned bond projects, even after holding back funds for the yet-to-be-bid work at Woodland Heights Elementary plus $3 million in fund balance for other unforeseen financial needs. The $2.1 million is expected go cover an additional phase in the high school science wing and additional work at Northwest Elementary.
Daren Kirbo, project manager for Huckabee and Associates, architects, and Paul Waldrop Jr., district construction manager, outlined the work completed at area campuses and the schedule for remaining projects. They showed slides of floor plans and photos taken in recent days at campus work sites.
Waldrop said weather has been a problem for workers, leaving them about a month behind the schedule they had hoped to keep. But he added he “feels pretty good” about only being a month behind, given the circumstances.
Work in the science classroom wing at Brownwood High, initially targeted to take one semester, will run three semesters because spare classrooms are not available to hold students, Waldrop said.
“I don’t believe we had a week without rain between December and June this year,” Waldrop told the board.
Kirbo said while work is substantially complete at Northwest Elementary and East Elementary, some painting and site work remains, but buildings are occupied.
Meanwhile, Kirbo said, work is continuing at the Coggin Elementary library and the Old Lions Gym after renovations were completed at Coggin.
Work at the middle school is also substantially complete, except for the competition gym.
Kirbo said the BHS auditorium is “looking great,” and students are expected to be able to use it by the first week of October. The new fine arts center is expected to be finished by the end of 2007.
“There’s a lot going on at the high school campus,” Kirbo said.
He said work on the front area of the high school is expected to begin next week, and when that is completed, crews will be able to start work on the roof. That project needs to be completed before the roof work can begin.
Waldrop outlined roof problems being encountered there while settlement negotiations continue with the district’s insurer for damage suffered, initially, in May 2006.
Assistant Superintendent Kevin Gabaree said a final settlement is apparently near, but the delay has resulted in additional water damage.
“We’ve had more leaks from recent rains,” Waldrop said. “They’re new leaks and we’re having to address them.”
In response to a question, Waldrop said the 20 to 25 percent price increases the construction industry experienced right after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have slowed to a pace of about 7 percent increase per year.