BEAR CREEK TWP. — A preliminary construction cost estimate that came in nearly $6 million over budget for their new school had the Bear Creek Community Charter School Board of Trustees sharpening their pencils and considering some tough decisions Thursday.
The board spent almost two hours reviewing options for trimming costs from the estimated $15.795 million project, which was anticipated to cost around $10 million.
Working with representatives from Hemmler + Camayd Architects, the board considered everything from using prebuilt components instead of “stick building” the gym, eliminating the indoor elevated running track, cutting down on the number of windows and substituting carpet tiles for more expensive linoleum flooring.
The board quickly decided to dispense with air conditioning in the gym, but held firm on keeping the gym to full size, noting that it would provide the only space for gathering large groups for assemblies and presentations. The board decided to bid many things as “add alternates” when the project goes out to bid in December.
The school has nearly $5 million set aside in a designated account for construction and plans to fund the remainder through a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan.
The board also voted to approve the annual school budget for 2013-14 for a total of $5,015,345.
In other business, the board heard a brief presentation from Principal Brian Dugas on the new in-school safety system that schools across the country are beginning to use in place of straight lockdown procedures. Dugas said that under the revised guidelines, administrators and staff are trained to consider the specific circumstances and use a variety of tactics including fighting back and fleeing, instead of simply hiding when a threatening intruder is in the building. Staff training in the new techniques will begin during the summer.
The board also approved upgrading the voice mail and auto-attendant system at a cost not to exceed $1,295, noting that the new system will replace one that failed and that the system can be moved into the new school.
It also reappointed board members Dave Blazejewski, Susan Barry and Peter Austin to three-year terms on the board.