Archive for Thursday, September 15, 2005

Katrina’s effect on construction costs stirs worry

September 15, 2005

The aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina may be felt even in Lansing, and that makes Lansing Schools Superintendent Randal Bagby nervous.

At Monday's school board meeting, Bagby said the "spooky thing" about the hurricane was how potential increases in construction material prices might affect the new elementary school and high school auditorium slated to be built by fall 2007. District voters approved a $23.6 million bond referendum in April for the projects.

Bagby said he anticipated the hurricane would "have an effect on cost and cost analysis that we haven't seen yet" and could also affect "costs that we probably haven't thought of yet."

Despite Bagby's anxiety, construction manager Mike Vieux of JE Dunn said Tuesday he wasn't concerned yet about increased prices.

Vieux said it would be hard to predict how prices might be affected, and he said he would give the market time to balance itself before worrying about the new building situations.

Vieux said some costs of construction were likely to increase; items that would arrive by truck, which he said would be "most anything" for the project, would go up as the result of higher fuel prices. Asphalt, which contains oil, would increase in price for the same reason.

Bagby said at Monday's meeting that the board would face some difficult decisions later in the process and that members may have to "whittle down" some options on the school and auditorium. Bagby recommended avoiding cuts to the initial plan before the extent of the price increases become known.

Vieux said he and a team of estimators at JE Dunn would keep the school board updated on its options for saving money. He said he would present three estimates to the board: the first estimate is being completed; the second would be ready in late November or early December, and the final would be presented in January or February. He said his job was to give the district suggestions and offer money-saving tips throughout the process.

"Our whole push is to put the owner and the architect in a position to make an informed decision," Vieux said.

In other action, the board:

¢ Approved the consent agenda.

¢ Heard acknowledgements from Lansing High School Principal Steve Dike, Linda Leffler, Mary Alice Schroeger, Tracy Hutton and Debra Hutton for their work with the school's exchange program with Keifeng, China, and for Tracy Andrews and Leadership for their "hard work and effort" in holding hurricane relief drives.

¢ Listened to a presentation from Lisa Galchick of the Greater Kansas City Community Fund who explained the relationship between her organization and the Lansing Educational Foundation Fund.

¢ Heard from Bagby about this year's estimated enrollment, which he said represented "steady growth." Right now, the estimated full-time equivalent of students is 2,129.5, up from 2,097 a year ago. Full-time equivalency is based on the number of full-time students in the district, where a student in grade 1-12 counts as 1 and students in preschool and a kindergarten student counts as .5. Students from the Lansing Educational Achievement Program (LEAP) are included in the total, which will be used by the state to determine the district's funding next year. The state takes its official headcount for enrollment on Sept. 20.

¢ Accepted a bid from Terracon Consulting for geotechnical services not to exceed $14,500. Terracon will perform borings to provide soil samples at the sites of the high school addition and the new elementary school. The proposal says the company will provide a geotechnical report on foundation design parameters, anticipated groundwater conditions and other conditions to make sure the new buildings will be on stable ground.

¢ Approved a proposal to request bids for an auxiliary road for access to LHS from East Mary Street during construction of the high school auditorium.

¢ Approved a proposal from Besel's to replace the ceiling windows in the main entry of LHS. Dale Bohannon, director of building and grounds, said he had worked in the district for eight years, and each year the district has put money into fixing leaks in the windows. Bagby said the work was intended to eliminate leakage and that the company had agreed to work during afternoons and weekends to avoid disrupting classes.

¢ Heard from Bagby a public statement that the district's office at 613 Holiday Plaza is up for sale. Bagby said the building was appraised at about $300,000 last year. The district intends to move its offices into Lansing Elementary School, 210 E. Mary St., when the new elementary school is built.

¢ Heard a report from Assistant Superintendent Donna Hughes on the district's Adequate Yearly Progress. The AYP is based on testing of reading and math in the district last spring and is the standard for meeting federal mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. Overall, 76.5 percent of all students were judged proficient in reading last year, well above the 58 percent minimum. In math, 79 percent of all students were considered proficient; the minimum is 46.8 percent. The only area Hughes said she was concerned about was reading for students with disabilities. Of these students, 59.1 percent were considered proficient, just 1.1 percent above the minimum. She said teachers in the district were working on plans to help those students achieve higher scores. The goal of No Child Left Behind is to have 100 percent of children proficient by 2014.

¢ Accepted $250 from the Kansas Beef Council to be used for beef purchases in the LHS family and consumer science department.

¢ Accepted a donation of 40 duffle bags from the LHS Boys' Soccer Booster Club to be provided to players on the boys varsity and junior varsity soccer teams and maintained by LHS.

¢ Approved site council memberships for LES, Lansing Intermediate School, Lansing Middle School and LHS.

¢ Approved the constitution of the LHS Drama Club.

¢ Approved a trip to New York City by LHS vocal music students during spring break 2006. Students are responsible for the cost of the trip, estimated by LHS choir director Jonnie Brice at $900 per person.

¢ Approved appointments of Jacquelyn Lamar, fourth-grade teacher; Lee Matzeder, LMS assistant football coach; and Carla Scovill, head drama sponsor.

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