New school projects delayed over costs

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By Patrick Yost

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Morgan County Superintendent James Woodard on Monday announced that construction of a new $55 million school project has been delayed at least two months after initial bids for the project came in over budget.

Woodard told the Morgan County Board of Education at its regular monthly meeting that the board will need to look at “alternative we’ll have to consider to bring us back to budget.”

The Morgan County Charter School System was supposed to have contracts finalized by the March 13 meeting. Woodard said the next possible date for contract finalization will be in May.

The ambitious project includes construction of a new Morgan County High School, Morgan County Middle School and a new transportation facility. Construction on the transportation facility has already begun.

Funding for the project will come, in part, by a special education local sales tax initiative and more than $20 million the board of education expects from state incentives.

In a press release distributed at Monday’s meeting, Woodard said, in part, “The contract approval has been delayed by approximately two months while the process of evaluating the bid packages continues. The entire project remains on–target to be completed, with a few minor adjustments in time relative to the start date and the date of completion. The two extra months will give the system time to evaluate the bid packages and the cost savings to keep the school system within the original allocations that were set during the planning process.”

“While we are disappointed that we will have to delay the project by two months, we are determined to keep the project within the budget approved by the board of education.”

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