NEWS HEADLINES

Construction firm provides project cost estimates

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013

If the Chico School Board decides to call a bond election later this year, they now have a better idea what the costs might be.

On Monday, the construction firm Buford-Thompson Co. provided the board with cost estimates for several projects under consideration. Superintendent Mike Jones said the quotes were simply a first step to a possible bond package as the board continues to prioritize the district’s needs.

“They gave us a starting estimate probably in the $7.75 million to $8.5 million range,” Jones said.

Projects under consideration include districtwide security upgrades, roof replacement at the middle school, new HVAC units at the middle school, a new ag facility, technology upgrades, bus purchases, a new administration building with a daycare facility, paving of the parking lot at the football stadium and upgrades for water irrigation at the football field. As an alternative to the irrigation upgrades, a quote for converting to a turf field was also included.

Jones said an initial estimate for a bond package might be in the $9 to $10 million range, although he pointed out that it is still early in the process.

The advantage of using a bond package to pay for the projects is that all the money will be used locally. As a Chapter 41 “property rich” school district, Chico is required to send money back to the state to be redistributed to districts with less property wealth.

Jones said the board has discussed potential projects over the past few months, and now that they have cost estimates associated with those projects, they will continue to discuss a potential bond package over the next several months. If a bond election is called, it would most likely be at the November general election.

Buford-Thompson built Chico’s field house and has also been used by nearby schools Bridgeport, Jacksboro and Bowie.

Chico ISD’s last bond election was in May of 2008. That $18.5 million package included money to build the high school and elementary school.

The board also approved an agreement with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office for a full-time resident deputy at the school. Chico is one of four schools in the county – Slidell, Alvord and Paradise being the others – that has shared a school resource officer in the past.

“Security is one of our main concerns, especially coming on the heels of Sandy Hook,” Jones said.

The 2013-2014 school calendar was also approved. Here are some key dates:

  • Aug. 26 – First day of class
  • Nov. 27-29 – Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 25 and 26 are professional development/student holiday days)
  • Dec. 23-Jan. 3 – Christmas holiday
  • Jan. 21 – Beginning of spring semester
  • March 10-14 – Spring Break
  • June 5 – Last day of class

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