School building project is on schedule

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 12/27/00.

With the unusually warm fall, construction was ahead of schedule but the recent cold and snow has slowed down the progress on the auditorium and fitness center at the Paynesville Area High School.

The roof on the auditorium is finished but because of all the snow the fitness center roof has not been insulated. It still needs to be completed, said Steve Dilallo, construction site manager, at the Paynesville Area School Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Dilallo told the board they're waiting for warmer weather and lots of sunshine to help melt the ice on the concrete decking so the roof can be completed. Once the ice is removed, the roofers will be able to return. It will take the roofers two days to insulate and apply the rubber mat.

In the meantime painting crews started before Christmas. By Thursday of last week, one third of the auditorium was painted, said Dilallo.

Even though finances for the project are tight, Kevin Becker, project manager, feels there will be enough funds to cover everything.

The project budget had a $150,000 deficit in October which has since been cut to about $90,000. Becker feels this will be made up before the auditorium and fitness center are completed.

The district has cut more than $48,000 from the project in order to save money to cover the deficit.

Knowing the district was short of funds for the project, Ehlers and Associates, the district's financial advisors, suggested a one-day bond sale. The board approved this sale, which does not require an election or an additional levy.

Superintendent Howard Caldwell explained that the district has excess funds in its debt service account. The district had $269,000 in its debt service fund as of July 1.

The school cannot transfer money from this fund to the building account directly. So the district will take out bonds in the amount of $54,400 and put the money in the building account.

The next day, the district will pay off the bonds from the debt service fund. The cost of the one-day bond sale is $4,200.

Becker informed the board he expects $15,000 to be left in the construction support fund at the end of the project. The fund started with $75,000. The district also started with $77,000 in the contingency fund. Becker said there is little or no money left. However, he doesn't foresee any major things that should affect the project from now until its completion in June.

Caldwell is hopeful the district can generate more interest on its investments than projected before the building is completed, which also would help cover the deficit.

Another means of securing more funds, Becker said, was to go back to the state and ask for additional health and safety funds to help cover the basement upgrade. Caldwell said the district would need a lot of documentation to prove their request is legitimate before pursuing more funds. He will talk with the architects to see if this is an option.

Enlarging parking lot
Caldwell asked the board to consider enlarging the parking lot to the north of the auditorium.

In the present plans, a large green space exists between the auditorium and the current parking lot. By eliminating some of the green space, possibly two rows of parking could be added.

The larger parking lot would bring the area closer to the building. "We don't need to mow more grass this summer," Caldwell said.

"The right time to do it is now as opposed to a few years from now," he added.

The board does not need to make a decision on this until spring.

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