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Clark County School Board Rejects Construction Bids for New School

Jason Parrott
Clark County Superintendent Ritchie Kracht hopes to have a new round of construction bids ready for the school board by late November.

The Clark County School District expected to break ground on the new Indian Pride Learning Center this fall. But that won't happen now that the school board rejected the first round of construction bids because they came in well over budget.

Superintendent Ritchie Kracht said the district received three bids. The lowest was for roughly $4.3 million. He said the district budgeted $3.7 million for building and equipping the school, which will house preschool and classes for some special education students.

The district plans to pay for the project with money from an $8 million bond referendum Clark County residents approved this year.

Kracht believes local contractors are busy right now, especially because the Quincy Public School District is building several new schools, so they are not necessarily looking for work. He said that’s a far cry from 2010, which is the last time the district borrowed money for improvements. He said bids came in much lower than anticipated that year, allowing for additional projects to be completed with the savings.

Kracht said district staff will work with the architects to identify possible savings in the building's design, but he said staff will also strive to maintain the integrity of the building.

“We want to build a high-quality building,” said Kracht. “We don’t want to take short-cuts and we don’t want to do things [where] 15 years from now, people will wonder why did they do that, it creates problems and expenses in the future. We want to do it right and build a solid building.”

Kracht said one potential area of savings is a storm shelter. He said the shelter is important but expensive,   so he expects it to be bid separate from the construction of the building, allowing the school board to add it in if available.

Kracht said he hopes to present a new round of construction bids by Thanksgiving. He said that should allow construction to get underway in the spring of 2018 and the building be completed in the spring of 2019.

Kracht said the original goal was for the Indian Pride Learning Center to be completed before the end of 2018.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.