UPDATE: Fayette County School Board votes to postpone build of new middle school
The increase in costs now puts the estimated total to $70.5 million
UPDATE: LEXINGTON Ky. (WTVQ) (NOV 15TH) – The Fayette County School Board has once again postponed a proposed new middle school on Polo Club Boulevard.
With a 3 to 2 vote Monday night, board members voted to table the project for now, in order to allow the administration time to reassess, review and reissue the bids.
As we’ve reported, the school district says because of a huge increase in construction material costs, the price tag on the new school had gone up 49% to $70.5 million dollars.
LEXINGTON, Ky.(ORIGINAL STORY) (WTVQ) – The Fayette County School Board of Education is putting-off its decision on awarding construction bids for a new middle school.
A big concern for Fayette County School Board members Monday night was whether or not they could afford to move forward with the construction of a new middle school on Polo Cub Boulevard, as construction costs have soared higher than they imagined.
“Is there any other rationale or explanation that we can have that will assure us that Fayette county schools are not just being gouged?” said Board Member, Tom Jones.
The school district says because of a huge increase in construction material costs, the price tag on the new middle school has gone up a staggering 49%.
The estimated budget for the project earlier this year was $38.4 million with a total cost of $47.2 million.
The increase in costs now puts the estimated total to $70.5 million.
According to the school district 60 percent of the increase is due to construction materials alone because of supply chain issues.
“It’s not something that’s unique to Fayette county, it is happening all across, and basically it’s the supply chain and labor cost that is driving this particular bid” said Chief Operating Officer, Myron Thompson.
The School Board now has to decide whether or not to accept the lowest construction bid of $58.5 million.
Two other contractors also bid on the project with similar prices.
Or the board can reject them and rebid later on, which many board members expressed concern over.
“If we were to wait on the projections to get better, it likely would be in the long term, so i don’t think the question is whether or not we wait a week or a month or the beginning of the year. I look at it as do we make a decision today or do we postpone this an entire year?” said Board Member, Christy Morris.
The new school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2023. Some say if the board puts off its decision, construction would be delayed another year, which would require the district to rely on even more portable classrooms as the district’s enrollment numbers push existing schools beyond capacity.
“I absolutely want our children to be in brick and mortars, i don’t want to see our children walk out to the portables, but i also want to know in 15 years we have the ability to put buildings for every child whenever there is growth in this community” said Board Member, Amy Green.
The board decided to delay its decision by a couple of days and will have a special called meeting later this week.