Members of the Bryan County Board of Education have approved spending about $15 million to get work started on both of the county’s new elementary schools.
The vote at Thursday’s BoE meeting at Richmond Hill Elementary School gives construction workers the go-ahead to start pouring foundations and doing other masonry work for both the new Bryan County Elementary in Pembroke and McAllister Elementary by the County Administrative Complex in South Bryan.
That should occur in about two weeks, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Trey Robertson said.
Both schools are expected to be open in August 2015 in time for the start of the 2015-16 school year.
The spending plan approved by the BoE was $6.83 million for the new BCES and $8.19 million for McAllister Elementary.
That’s not the complete cost of the project, but came after BoE members balked at approving a guaranteed maximum price, or GMP, during discussion with project manager Bill Vickery of Pope Construction, who sought approval to give builders assurance the project would be funded.
Instead, the BoE found a compromise by approving the start-up costs rather than a GMP.
“If we approve that guaranteed maximum price and something comes up, we can go up to that price,” BoE chairman Eddie Warren said. “(But) we don’t want to go up that high. Why would I approve a guaranteed maximum price of $20 million if you’ve already told me $1.5 million can be taken out of it? It’s up to the board — it’s not my vote, but I’m not going to approve something that leaves us on the hook for an extra $1.5 million.”
In September, the BoE sold $23.7 million in bonds to help finance the project, which will put a third school in South Bryan while replacing Bryan County Elementary with a larger, more modern facility.
McAllister Elementary, which will be located off Highway 144 behind the Bryan County Administrative Complex in South Bryan, is being built to accommodate 1,000 students. Bryan County Elementary will hold 600 — with room for expansion.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, the BoE approved a number of donations, including $800 from Deano’s Pizza to the Bryan County Middle School boys’ basketball team; $50 from Margaret West to help with CRCT breakfast items at BCMS; $300 from Pembroke Advanced
Communications for CRCT breakfast items at BCMS; $15,000 from the Home Run Club to Richmond Hill High School for a new pitching machine; $1,000 from the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill to the general activity account at RHHS; and $10,000 from the Lanier Primary PTO for playground equipment at LPS.