Change orders increase cost of middle school renovation projects in Greater Clark

JEFFERSONVILLE — Change orders for renovations at Charlestown and River Valley middle schools have come in at more that $110,000, but the added expense may be only temporarily, Chief Financial Officer Tom Dykiel said Tuesday at the Greater Clark County Schools special board meeting.

The majority of that cost will be reimbursed by the federal government, Dykiel said.

The two change orders, one for River Valley Middle School totaling $63,300 and one for Charlestown Middle School totaling $48,480, are to cover the cost of putting in cable trays at the two schools. According to Dykiel, the trays organize and support all the wires, which serve different purposes throughout the building, in the ceilings. District staff originally was going to take on the project, but when the breadth of the project was discovered, the decision was made to hire a contractor.

Despite the high price tag, Dykiel anticipates 80 percent of the cost will be refunded via E-Rate, a federal program that uses tax dollars to reimburse schools and libraries for expenses related to telecommunications and information services. The program is under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission.

“As soon as we submit the bill to the federal government, they’ll get it back to us within a month or so,” Dykiel explained after the meeting. The district would be responsible for the remaining 20 percent.

The two schools are undergoing renovation primarily to close open-concept classrooms, which had been identified as a major safety concern by the administration. The total cost of the project, including closing rooms at Northaven Elementary school, is around $22 million.

In other business:

• The board voted to outsource custodial services for Jeffersonville High School to ATS Facilities. According to Dykiel, the company submitted the lowest of eight bids and come highly recommended by their references.

The service will cost just over $38,000 a month. The typical monthly cost of a fully-staffed custodial team at Jeffersonville High School is about $33,000 a month, but turnover has been a problem.

According to Melin, 12 custodians should maintain the school, but there are typically six to eight openings at any given time. The six custodians currently working at the high school will be given the choice of open positions at other buildings within the district by order of seniority.