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HILLSVILLE — Officials have been able to negotiate with the contractor for Carroll County High School to get a cafeteria expansion without putting the project out to bid.
Clerk of the Works Dennis Cole, who oversees the Phase III construction work at the high and intermediate school for Carroll, reported that negotiations with New Atlantic reduced the price for the cafeteria work by about $41,000.
That will allow the proposed configuration of the cafeteria to change after the school board decided to keep the auto shop where it is. Not having to build a new auto shop will save money.
That left educators thinking that the cafeteria would feel somewhat cramped for the larger number of students it will have to feed when the ninth grade moves to the high school. Architects had planned to expand that cafeteria space into the auto shop area.
Instead, school officials planned to expand the cafeteria towards the current administration offices to get the much-needed space.
The school board voted in March to seek bids from local contractors to get that work done, but Cole reported to the school board at its regular May meeting that he tried to avoid going out to bid by reducing the amount of work that New Atlantic would need to do on the cafeteria.
That would allow the school system to fit the cafeteria expansion into the current construction budget, he explained.
New Atlantic tackling the expansion will reduce disruption in the cafeteria service and will save on new design and project management fees, Cole said.
The new negotiated price is close to $200,000.
The difference between the original cost estimate the most recent one is what Cole calls “going from a Cadillac to a Chevrolet” on interior finishes.
“Also known as what we call a vanilla box…. you won’t have some of the architectural design features that the architect originally put into the project,” Cole said.
Officials also will leave the technology data closet where it is now and build around it, which also resulted in a cost savings.
Cole asked the school board to approve a change order making the cafeteria expansion cost $200,004. “Which is very close if not exact to the number we had received as a credit for the cafeteria where we took it off,” he added, referring to the savings from not expanding the cafeteria into the auto shop area.
If approved, the cafeteria expansion should be ready for the start of the new school year in August.
In order to do this, the school board rescinded member Joey Haynes’ March motion to put the cafeteria expansion out for a new round of bids.
Tammy Quesenberry, schools finances manager, explained the money to fund the cafeteria expansion will take $50,000 from construction contingency, plus about $100,000 from the sale of surplus land behind the old Hillsville elementary on Oak Street to the Grover King VFW Post 1115.
This leaves $460,000 in the construction contingency for the high school.
At this stage, Cole doesn’t expect many other large changes to require spending the contingency funds.
The high school will end up with about the same amount of square footage after the expansion, except for about 800 square feet from leaving the data closet where it is, Cole said. The school will pick up 3,486 square feet of additional cafeteria space.
“We’ve taken the fluff out of it,” the clerk of the works said about the cafeteria plans. “We’ll match up existing floors, we’ll match existing paint colors, the ceilings will be the same…”
There won’t be a “floating ceiling” or a column covered with brick, he explained.
“We’re getting really what I call a vanilla box that’s going to basically match up with what you have in there now,” Cole said. “All you’re getting is basically more square footage.”
School board members approved a motion to accept this change order.