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Stadium, memorial cost increases

A community-funded veterans memorial that will be installed at the new stadium at Oak Harbor High School is more expensive than originally anticipated.

The cost of the memorial looks to be approximately $35,000 more than the original $100,000 estimate.

Plans call for a memorial belltower and a wrought iron fence to be installed at the entrance to Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

The money for the belltower was raised through community donations along with $50,000 provided by the state Legislature.

The cost of the memorial came in higher than anticipated because it is a relatively small project, the school district is under a time crunch to complete it and it wasn’t fully designed before officials came up with the $100,000 estimate for the memorial.

“This kind of project is notoriously difficult to budget for,” Superintendent Rick Schulte said during the July 9 school board meeting.

The price for the memorial could change again once the cost of the wrought iron fence and memorial installation is known.

School board members weren’t willing to change the scope of the memorial to reduce costs. Besides, some components, such as the arch, have already been ordered.

Schulte said that there could be money in the stadium contingency to pay for the increased cost.

“I think we’ve got the capacity to do it,” Schulte said.

School board member Kathy Jones said volunteers are also seeking pledges to pay for the increase.

Mitch Romero, stadium project manager, said taking the memorial project out to bid would delay its installation until November.

As Wildcat Memorial Stadium nears completion, officials had to account for several unexpected expenses associated with the $9.4 million facility. Workers had to remove soil that was filled with organic material.

Romero said rumors suggest the material comes from a saw mill that burned down on the site years ago and was bulldozed over. It cost the school district approximately $140,000 to remove the soil.

In addition to the soil, it cost the school district $46,000 for an assisted listening device system, which is required to install for hearing-impaired spectators. It also cost the school district $1,500 to install a lighted crosswalk.

In all, there have been approximately $275,000 worth of change orders on the stadium project. That money comes out of a contingency set aside to account for any unexpected expenses.

Romero said there is enough money in the contingency fund to get through the remainder of the project.

And, barring any disaster, the stadium should be complete in time for the first home game of the fall sports season scheduled Sept. 6.

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