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Board ready to move on athletic complex

Clark County Board of Education members voted to acknowledge bids received last week for the construction of an athletics facility and gymnasium at George Rogers Clark High School, and they indicated they are ready to move forward with the project including all alternates.

The base bid for the project, including all of the gymnasium and a football stadium with home seating for 4,000 but no visitor seating, came in at more than $20 million, higher than the board’s previous estimate of about $17 million.

The alternates were bid out as potential parts of the project, including the addition of visitor seating, installation of tennis courts and additional grading in the area around the high school to facilitate the future construction of baseball and softball fields and a field house.

With all of the alternates in the bid package included, the cost jumped to more than $21.3 million.

Ron Murrell, with Ross Tarrant Architects, told board members it would be possible to rebid the project or pieces of it, but doing so ran the risk of bids coming in higher than they were initially.

Joe Nance, a financial advisor with Ross Sinclaire, told the board that while the numbers were higher than initially expected, they were not unattainable.

“You could afford it if you wanted to,” Nance said.

He said the board has access to some additional bonds through the state, and a transfer during the last fiscal year of $2 million for use on the project brings the board’s total capacity closer to $27 million. Nance said Superintendent Paul Christy expressed a willingness to transfer an additional $400,000 from the district’s $14 million reserve fund to help meet costs.

Nance said it is important for the board to look down the road to the next major project it wants to complete when considering how to use the funds, however. In this case, the board’s second facilities priority is a new preschool.  He said if the board moved forward with the project it would be able to maintain about $2 million in bonding potential to help fund the first phase of a preschool project, which could be supplemented by some money from the district’s healthy reserve.

The board voted 4-0 in favor of acknowledging the bids and expressing interest in all the alternates, with board member Ashley Ritchie being absent.

In other business, the board:

— approved a memorandum of agreement with the National Youth Advocate Program for mental health services to students and their families.

— approved a $301,869 payment to Performance Services for the district’s energy savings project.

— approved a $2,500 allocation to the Junior Achievement program.