School board OKs expansion of BMS renovation

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The Marshall Board of Education voted Tuesday to expand its summer renovation project at Bueker Middle School.

Following a unanimous vote, the project to install a heating and air conditioning system at Bueker and more efficient lighting throughout the district now includes heating and air conditioning for the BMS annex, adding water softeners to boilers in the elementary buildings and completely removing and replacing the restrooms used by elementary and middle school students.

Marshall Superintendent of Schools Joe Aull said the restroom project has been estimated at $400,000, but he believes the work is needed if the district intends to continue using the older elementary buildings. He said the restroom facilities are one of the biggest eyesores in the buildings and staff and guests complain of odor problems as well.

"We think it's a project that is badly needed," Aull said. "We don't want to go in and build new old buildings, but on the other hand there are things we need to go in and do."

Aull said with the additional work, the cost of the overall project rises to about $3.3 million. Financed over a 15-year period, the cost breaks down to about $315,000 per year. Aull reminded the board that the lighting upgrade included in the project will save the district at least $100,000 per year.

"Without the energy savings it's probably too much," he said.

When asked by the board, David Harvey, representing contractor CTS, said he was confident that the work, including the restrooms, could be substantially completed before school begins next fall.

Board member Ed Kays wasn't easily convinced, however. "It looks like a terribly aggressive schedule," he said. "I know how these things go. Mr. Murphy [as in Murphy's Law] is usually an active participant in these types of projects."

Harvey assured the board that CTS has done similar projects in the past, and by the time students return there will be no work remaining that will disturb them in their classes.

In other business, the board declined to accept a bid for the financing portion of the project. Aull said financing packages were presented by Central Bank of Jefferson City and a partnership of George K. Baum and Associates and Edward D. Jones.

Aull said the district had originally asked for proposals with no debt service reserve, but in hindsight it appears have a reserve will reduce the overall cost of the financing. As such, he suggested the board reject the bids and request new ones incorporating a reserve.

The board agreed to the move, but several members, including Kays, said if the companies request too large of a security it won't be worth the savings. The new proposals are expected to arrive next Tuesday.

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