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Paynesville Press - May 30, 2001

School addition to be ready in June

By Michael Jacobson

Finishing touches are all that remain for the new school addition, and the auditorium and fitness center should be done in time to open in June. The school board set an open house dedication for the new complex on the north end of the high school for Friday, June 22, at 7 p.m.

Most of the remaining work needs to be done in the auditorium, including some varnishing, door finishing, carpet laying, and caulking. The curtains -which have already arrived - will be the last things installed before the auditorium opens.

Final work lists will be sent to the contractors soon, architect Troy Miller and construction manager Kevin Becker told the school board. Work should be completed by June, and the paperwork should be done by the end of July.

The fitness center will be ready for use before the auditorium, but a certification of occupancy - requiring a building inspection and a fire marshal visit - is needed before any part of the addition is used.

The hope is the fitness center will be ready to open by June 1, and the auditorium should be ready for Town and Country, which means the Miss Paynesville pageant on Monday, June 18, could be the first event in the new auditorium.

The board wanted to hold the dedication and open house in the addition before Town and Country Days, but the project managers said completion before then could not be assured. Just having the auditorium finished by Town and Country Days will take some doing, they said.

This means the high school play on June 7 and 8 will likely need to be held on the elementary stage, not in the new auditorium as hoped.

A training for staff on using the new sound and lighting systems will be held on Friday, June 8.

The school district will spend $7,500 from its capital improvement budget for a new lighting system in the auditorium. "We found that the lights we had were not effective," superintendent Howard Caldwell said.

Money is available in the capital expenditure budget, Caldwell said, because the roof at the middle school appears to be in good shape and will require only $10,000 of work ($90,000 was budgeted for the roof).

Boiler repairs in the middle/high school ($20,000) and the elementary ($15,000) school are also needed. The building project - which has its own school fund, separate from the capital expenditure fund - remains in the red, Miller told the board. An $83,000 oversight during the project has put the project behind schedule financially.

Another $14,000 worth of work has been submitted to the state for approval as a health and safety levy. If approved, the state would cover about a third of the levy, and local taxpayers would cover the rest. This additional income, if approved, would leave the project with a $52,000 deficit, Miller said. "We're continuing to move our way down," he said.

School and construction officials remain confident that the project will come close to breaking even in the end.

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