Hardin County Schools Board of Edu­cation heard Thurs­day from experts and administrators on their recommendations regarding the Central Har­din High School renovation project bid packages.

As compiled for the board with a budget of $39,656,066, the combined lowest bid amounts added up to $47,104,378 – a $7,448,312 difference and 19 percent higher than the district’s budget for the school.

The board reviewed 24 to 26 different bidding packages for the various aspects of the construction. Six of the construction aspects received only one bid, with about eight of them were given the recommendation to either renegotiate or reject and rebid.

Experts said the unusual and temperamental market of some construction supplies, including copper, lumber and sheet metal, have increased the prices in a few different areas.

Tommy Gumm, CEO of Alliance Corp., said that even with the anticipation of price increases, there were bid packages that ended up costing more than expected. He said he expected a 15-percent increase.

Rob Deal, president of JRA Architects, said when the renovation project is completed, the result essentially will be a brand new high school. He recommended a 7-percent contingency in case construction finds problems they weren’t expecting.

Chip Sutherland, the district’s fiscal agent, told the board over the phone that in regard to bonding, the board was in a good position from a cost perspective with interest rates currently low and that it’s not a bad time to borrow money. Stith said they’re also still expecting Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund from the CARES Act.

Ultimately the board rejected packages for general trades, concrete and fire protection and requested the contracts be rebid. They also entered into competitive negotiations with the three lowest bidders for plumbing and HVAC.

Central Hardin, formerly Hardin Central Middle School, opened as a high school is 1990.

The board also went into a work session to discuss the future of the district’s nutrition services supply building.

Josey Crew, nutrition services director, said the current facility is no longer suitable, particularly the roof, which is condemned. She also said freezers are deteriorating. 

Stith presented to the board a few different options to have more space and improved facilities, including using the former Lincoln Trail Elementary School building. He said a suitable facility for this would cost about $2 million. No decision was made on this matter.

Discussion of possible pay raises for bus drivers and substitute teachers was held. Superintendent Teresa Morgan said the district is worried about shortages in both areas and said the district has had difficulties regarding schools not having enough substitute teachers.

No decision was made.

Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1414 or aharp@thenewsenterprise.com.

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