Tying up some loose ends from its decision to build only two new elementary schools with its $98.6 million bond, the Kelso School District adjusted a resolution and an architectural contract Monday.
Both actions were part of the technical process of revising the bond plan, which was originally intended to pay for three new schools. The board opted to change its plan as a cost-savings measure after project estimates increased sharply due to higher-than-expected inflation for construction costs as well as poor soil conditions, which require deeper and more costly building foundations.
The resolution of “new-in-lieu” school replacements states that the district is replacing three of its schools with new buildings, and it will not continue to use the old schools for K-12 classes. Such a resolution is required for the district to receive state match money on the bond.
Kelso’s bond projects are eligible for $50 million in state match money.
According to the resolution, Wallace Elementary School will be demolished and replaced with a new school on the same site, while Beacon Hill and Catlin elementaries will be replaced by a 950-student school at Lexington. The Beacon Hill and Catlin buildings will remain standing but will no longer be used for K-12 classes.
The new bond plan also required the board to adjust its contract with Integrus Architecture, the company the district is working with to design the new schools. Integrus was contracted to design three new schools, and the contract outlined how much money the district would pay in architectural and engineering fees. (Those fees are calculated as a percentage of the total project cost.)
By building just two schools and adjusting the contract accordingly, the district will save about $1 million on architectural and engineering fees. That money will be “factored back into school construction costs,” said district Finance Director Scott Westlund.
Also Monday the school board:
• Received a brief update on the district’s latest financial audit. The audit came back clean, and the auditing services cost the district about $16,000, Westlund said.
• Updated its policies on public access of district records and waivers for graduation requirements. Waivers allow students to graduate with 24 credits, the current state graduation requirement, as opposed to 26 credits, the Kelso School District requirement.
• Approved the 2019-20 school calendar.