UNcommon Sense: Bond Project Update

by Corey Holland

I would like to use this week’s article to give an update on our bond project. While the rain has been a blessing to all of us, especially our farmers, it has caused us to lose over sixty work days. Even so, work is progressing. To date, the safe room at the high school and middle school have been built. The next step is to pour the concrete roof on top of both buildings. Once this is done, finish work on the outside and inside of the structures will begin.

The wrestling facility footing and pad have been poured. The next step will be to put the steel framing up and get the building in the dry. While it is impossible to predict future delays, all three of these builds, which make up Phase 1, are currently scheduled to be completed by early fall.

Phase 2 is the construction of the new Performing Arts Center and the new High School addition. As a reminder, due to the rising interest rates, we lost over $1.8 million in construction funds before we even began the projects. Additionally, the cost of materials and labor has increased creating more of a strain on our budget funds. For these reasons, it is more important than ever to identify opportunities for savings.

To this end, the architect blueprints for our projects have been carefully reviewed. We have prioritized student use portions of the project and instead, made changes in other areas. Phase 2 is currently out for bid. The sealed bids will be opened on March 29. Once the cost of Phase 2 is totaled, I will know how much budget funds are available for Phase 3.

Phase 3 of our bond project consists of construction at Outlaw Stadium. Rather than waiting on Phase 2 to be started, we have already been strategizing for Phase 3. The primary goal of this phase is the construction of a new fieldhouse as well as addressing our bathroom needs at this site.

As with the entire bond project, I have been working to find ways to get our needs met in a way that is financially responsible in the face of our budget challenge. To achieve this goal, we are focused on reusing some of the current buildings at Outlaw Stadium that were previously set to be torn down. Doing so will help us make up the gap in funding we will no doubt be facing going into Phase 3.

It is my hope, by potentially repurposing some of the current buildings and reworking some of the original design plans, we can best deliver on the bond project voters approved in February 2022. It is important we do everything, within reason, to achieve the original project goals. Even in the face of a tough budget, these proposed changes put us on the best pathway to do so.

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