A letter from Project Manager Jim Copeland of Moseley Architects was presented to the board concerning questions the board directed to the firm during a December meeting over the expense of four items included in cost estimates.
RCS Superintendent Dr. George Norris and Associate Superintendent Dr. Robert Beck stated that they met at length with Copeland regarding these concerns, and suggested that the board accept his explanations as reasonable.
The only recommendation not accepted by the board was regarding the 4 percent, or approximately $500,000, contingency estimate on the project.
The letter suggested the board not lower the contingency due to the “risk and potential additional cost for soils remediation on this site.”
“I think we need to stick with that 3 percent contingency, because when you draw a bull’s eye out there, someone’s going to try to hit it,” board member Tom McInnis said. “If they have a legitimate concern, I don’t mind them coming back before the board and we call a special meeting or whatever we need to do.”
He said that the schools already received an extensive report on estimates for dealing with soil conditions on the site.
“I think that the reduction in contingency is reasonable,” board member Wiley Mabe said before the item was put to a vote.
The board also questioned the possibility of bidding interior non-load bearing walls as masonry, in lieu of drywall, as an alternate bid, when they met in December.
The letter stated the firm would proceed with the design based on the drywall design.
“This is very typical of today’s design standards for elementary schools,” Copeland wrote. “This approach allows us to remove and save money on structural supports.”
Copeland advised, however, that the preparation of alternate plans would be “costly and time consuming ... We suggest that you continue as planned.”
Another concern the board raised was the budget for printing cost related to design documents for the school.
Copeland wrote that his company had solicited printing costs from several printing companies to arrive at a lower number.
“Typical printing cost of an elementary school range from $10,000 to $25,000 depending on the number of interested bidders,” he wrote. “The $15,000 printing budget is fairly conservative based on our expected interest at this time.”
Finally, the architecture firm confirmed that it would proceed with utility size bricks, as opposed to more expensive brick included in the original plans.
In other business:
n RCS Chief Financial Officer Pam Satterfield presented a budget amendment to the board for increases of approximately $175,000 for instructional services, and $580,000 for system-wide supporting services, including student accountability, exceptional children education and transportation.
She stated the school system had received the extra funds for its performance on end of grade testing.
It was passed unanimously by the board, raising the system’s budget to over $49.5 million.
She also responded to a question by one of the board members concerning the state asking for the return of money.
“I’m projecting that they will ask for additional money back,” she said.
n The board voted unanimously to accept Beck’s recommendation bids for lawn maintenance be tabled for another meeting.
“Looking at the economic situation of not only the county, but the state, our recommendation is that we table this issue until the economic situation improves in the county, hopefully sooner than later,” Beck said.
n The board unanimously adopted a resolution to recognize Jan. 19 as a system-wide holiday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
n The board was also presented with a first draft of a report on “Richmond County Schools State of the System” by Norris.