By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Lester Prairie School Board discussed both good and bad news related to the district’s building improvement project during a special meeting last Monday morning.
The good news, according to a letter to Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota’s education commissioner, drafted by Superintendent Mike McNulty, is that the bids came in $824,000 less than the construction budget for the project.
The bad news, according to the letter, is that unforeseen costs have emerged during the course of the project.
Part of the cost is related to additional asbestos that contractors have encountered in flooring and ceiling systems in the locker rooms, kitchen/caffeteria area, and classrooms.
The cost of abating the asbestos in these areas was not included in the original scope of work.
Another unforeseen cost came in the form of an order from the state fire marshal requiring the district to install a sprinkler system.
McNulty noted that the board and administration have reviewed the district’s long-term capital plan, and are considering projects from which the district could benefit by doing the work now, while the building is already being renovated and contractors are already mobilized.
The proposed projects include:
• locker room abatement, repairs, and improvements, $46,900;
• room 122 abatement, repairs, and improvements, $44,900;
• elementary restroom abatement, repairs, and improvements, $49,300;
• east wing classroom abatement, repairs, and improvements, $103,700;
• classroom flooring abatement and replacement, $53,900;
• roofing sections affected by project, $245,700;
• asbestos abatement in cafeteria and entrance, $47,400;
• cafeteria flooring abatement and replacement, $6,600;
• sprinkler system installation, $163,700; and
• low-voltage wiring/wireless Internet, $44,700.
The total cost for these additional projects is $806,800.
In order to pay for these improvements, the board approved the letter drafted by McNulty, asking Cassellius to approve a permanent funds transfer of $806,800 from the district’s health/safety fund to the district’s capital projects fund.
The letter states that the transfer will “enhance the education of our students, and would not represent an additional financial burden to the state or local taxpayers.”
Prior to these additional projects, the total estimated construction cost for the improvements was $4,336,485.
The board approved the request for fund transfer during last Monday’s meeting.