High price won’t stop college, careers facilities

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 SHEPHERDSVILLE – Although bids were more than hoped for, construction will soon begin on two college and career centers in Bullitt County.

And work will continue on getting plans ready to build a third facility, as well as include a major renovation of the county’s oldest high school.

The Bullitt County Public School Board approved a winning bid for construction of the centers at North Bullitt and Bullitt East high schools.

A local contractor, EH Construction, of Brooks, was the winning bidder for the two projects.

Architect Joe Sandman of Clotfelter-Samokar Architect said six bids were opened on the projects.

“We are happy with these bids,” said Sandman.

The combined bid for North Bullitt and Bullitt East was $12.25 million, which is higher than the original estimates.

The college and career centers would provide additional classroom space, laboratory space and an auxiliary gym. Besides offering classes during the day, there has been some discussion on college courses being offered at night through Jefferson Community and Technical College.

“The bids did come in higher that I was hoping they would be and slightly higher than the architect’s estimates,” said superintendent Keith Davis. “However, they are well within the facility plan guidelines.”

Sandman said the difference between the high and low bids was only 2.5 percent, which leads him to believe they were solid prices in a very competitive market.

When the sites were originally bid, the price tag was $7 million. The board rejected those bids and changes were made in the scope of the project to lower the cost.

Board members seemed pleased that a local contractor received the bid for both facilities and that would also mean a lot of area subcontractors doing some of the work.

The company has previously worked on Freedom Elementary and also the Ridgway Memorial Library renovations and expansion.

The work at the two schools is expected to be completed by next August.

A larger project at Bullitt Central High is still in the planning stages.

Architect Russ McFarland is looking at a completion in December 2014 for the major renovation work, as well as the college and career center.

Bids are already being taken on relocating the Bullitt Central tennis courts and the faculty parking, both to be displaced due to the renovation work.

The renovation work, which is expected to cost around $9 million, would build a new cafeteria and a new media center. Other major renovations to the rest of the building will also be done.

Asbestos abatement will be another project tackled this summer when classes are not in session.

Davis expects the college and career center to cost roughly the same as the other two schools.

Davis said there should be no concern by the public that instructional money would be affected by the construction work.

The funds come from different sources and would not affect any spending in the classroom, said Davis.

In addition, the county’s bonding capacity will improve as more old debt is paid off.