By Caitlin Schudalla
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Norman Board of Education received word Monday evening of more setbacks on the Administrative and Curriculum Services Center remodel, prompting the approval of an amended budget nearly a half-million dollars over the project’s original estimate.
Originally projected to cost $820,000, phase II of the project actually will cost $1.3 million because bids on parking lot construction, roofing, plumbing, electrical and, particularly, HVAC utilities are significantly higher than designers and contractors say they were led to believe.
“We were hearing from advocates of this HVAC system that they could install the system for a small increase in cost, and it wound up being much, much more,” said Gary Clark of Architectural Design Group.
As a result of the unpleasant bidding surprise, phases 3 and 4 — focusing on security systems, the property’s storm sewer, interior design and existing building renovation — will have to be pared down cost-wise to stay within the limits of the project’s remaining $1.2 million.
“What we’re doing now as we look at our $1.2 million budget is seeing if things like carpet are higher grade, and when we enter the bidding phase we’ll bid our original option and have a cheaper alternative if we can’t afford it,” Assistant Superintendent Roger Brown said.
Board members each expressed concerns, particularly pertaining to cutbacks in the facility’s security system and drainage issues resulting from a cheaper storm sewer system.
“Anything we have to eliminate will be something the facility can have retrofitted at a later date,” Clark said. “Consider it defferred.”
“I appreciate all the work ADG and CMS Willowbrook have put in on this continuing project,” Superintendent Joe Siano said. “It’s a bit of an unusual process, being the last of the bond issue package. We’re going through this step-by-step and that’s why we’re a little behind and not where we’d hoped to be right now, but we’re still within the perameters of the bond issue and we’re getting toward the end of our timeline.”
Before adjourning, board members expressed their profound pride in the Norman North football team and student body, calling the school’s spirited support of the team “incredible” despite North’s dissapointment at their loss of the state title.
“I want to congratulate the team and coaches for fantastic performance all year, and recognize the community and student body for its outstanding support.” Siano said. “We hope to invite the coaches and team to the next board meeting to be honored.”
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