Art school bids lower than expected

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By April Wright, Reporter

With an architect’s estimate of $800,000 to transform the old First National Bank in downtown Galax into Chestnut Creek School of the Arts by next summer, City of Galax officials were pleased that the lowest construction bid they received — from South End Construction Inc. of Roanoke — totaled $661,509.

City Manager Keith Holland said, after opening the bids on Oct. 30, that the city received interest and bids from nine construction companies.

“We are very happy with this bid,” said Holland. “And we think we had a good number of contractors that submitted bids.”

The city hopes to have approval from USDA Rural Development on the bid by Monday’s city council meeting. After the city goes under contract with South End Construction, the company should begin renovation by the end of the year and complete the project by the time of next year’s Leaf & String Festival in June, Holland said.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes well,” said Holland.

The City of Galax acquired the 8,800-square-foot building, which had been vacant for several years, in June 2006 for $104,000 to create the art school. The city has received a $300,000 grant from Appalachian Regional Commission and a $300,000 private donation to defray the $661,509 cost.

“One of the primary purposes to start Chestnut Creek School of the Arts was to help with the downtown revitalization and help create a thriving economy while showcasing the heritage of the region,” Holland told The Gazette previously.