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|Paynesville Press - October 17, 2001|
Project to be finished without deficit
The school's building project - which added a new auditorium and fitness center to the north side of Paynesville Area High School - will be completed with money in the construction account, superintendent Howard Caldwell told the school board on Tuesday, Oct. 9.|
Around $106,000 remains in the building fund, and only $50,000-$70,000 in payments are still due, said Caldwell, meaning the project's deficit has been wiped out and it will be finished with existing funds in the building construction fund.
This means the school will not have to use any funds from its capital improvement account to cover a project deficit.
Fourteen months ago, in August 2000, the project was $150,000 behind budget, primarily on account of adding air conditioning ($75,000) and of an accounting oversight ($83,000).
Since then, the school administration and the project professionals have worked hard to get the project back on track. Alterations were done to the project to save money. The district received $25,000 in donations, used other levies to raise an additional $125,000 for the project, and used a one-day bond sale to transfer $54,000 from the debt service account to the building fund.
The school district also earned $40,000 more from interest than budgeted. District voters approved selling $3.4 million in bonds for the project in December 1999. Since that money was received in 2000, the district has had it invested and earned $160,000 in interest, more than the $120,000 originally estimated.
The school assumed ownership of the addition in June 2001.
A number of minor things still need to be completed, mainly in the auditorium, before a final accounting of the project can be done. The district's construction professionals are trying to get contractors to complete the work.
Caldwell told the board that the remaining expenditures would amount to less than the remaining funds in the construction account. "I'm feeling pretty good at this point," Caldwell said.
The bleak predictions over the course of the project have been covered in a number of stories by the Press.
School board chairman Pat Flanders expressed concern that the public will have an erroneous impression of the project's finances. "Do you think we'll ever have the general public understand that the project came in on budget?" he asked at the meeting last week.
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