Board of Education tables building of new middle school

Published 9:31 am Wednesday, April 27, 2022

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Superintendent Tim Cochran announced Thursday night during the Board of Education meeting that the Board has decided to table the building of the new middle school, due to the ever increasing costs of materials.

The Board was scheduled to approved the GMP (guaranteed maximum price) Thursday night, along with the bonds, but tabled it, upon hearing the cost of the project.

“Twelve months ago we hired our GM, and they started the design and worked with architects,” Cochran said. “We anticipated a $40 million school and they opened up bids a few weeks ago and it went from $40 million to $60 million.”

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This jump in price was a 58% increase from what the DCBOE had budgeted initially.

“As we try to be good stewards of our SPLOST dollars and fiscally responsible, it is hard to justify moving forward at this time,” Cochran said.

Cochran explained the plans for the new middle school have not been canceled, just simply tabled until further notice.

He went on to say that JCI still has the plans and are reviewing them to see if anything can be cut in order to save money.

The plans for the middle school had originally be submitted to the state as part of the BOE’s 5-year plan, but Cochran said the school not moving forward at this time will not hurt their entitlement money. He explained the money can just be drawn out at a later time when they decide to move forward with the building process.

“We will continue to monitor the economy and if the economic situation shifts, we will act accordingly when the time is right,” Cochran said. “It is still our goal to complete this project in the future, but only when it is fiscally responsible to do so.”

While Cochran is understandably disappointed after months of planning, he knows this will not only keep the school in good fiscal shape, but will also allow for the economy to slow down and for building materials to hopefully trend downward in price.