Auxiliary gym on hold

Plans for the new Coupeville High School include an auxiliary gym built next to the main gym. It provides a replacement for the one in the current school that will eventually be demolished.

However, when the new auxiliary gym is built remains an unanswered question as school officials have delayed construction until more money comes available.

The high school construction project, which is financed by a $22.8 million bond voters approved in May 2004, is $2.8 million over budget.

Gary Goltz, construction manager for the Coupeville School District, said the increased costs stem from higher than expected inflation.

Officials estimated the high school would cost $160 a square foot. That number increased to $220 a square foot.

The Coupeville School Board met in a special meeting Monday to discuss options on how to pay for the projects. Goltz said that the decision to delay the 16,300-square-foot auxiliary gym allows the district to build a quality school.

“We don’t want to compromise the quality of what we’re doing,” Goltz said Tuesday.

He said teachers weren’t supportive of any changes that would eliminate classroom space at the school.

Superintendent Bill Myhr said they promised the taxpayers and community a quality building that would be durable, energy efficient and meet program needs of the community.

Goltz said reducing the size or eliminating the classrooms was discussed but that would have reduced the quality of the building which is expected to last 40 to 50 years.

By holding off on the auxiliary gym construction, resources can be devoted to construction of the new, 58,000-square-foot high school. School officials are moving forward with plans to modernize the main gymnasium.

Auxiliary gym construction would take place after the new high school is built in the summer of 2007. That’s when the school district expects to receive matching money from the state.

Goltz estimates the district could receive between $2.2 million and $2.4 million in matching money from the state, which would pay for the gymnasium. He expects to have a hard number by the end of the month.

The matching money helps cover the the auxiliary gym, the covered play area at the elementary school and the middle school improvement projects.

Because of the gym project delay, school officials are asking a waiver from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to use the gym in the current school even though it will be empty.

The original plans called for demolition of the current high school after the new one is complete.

Goltz said that officials will look at completing lower priority projects after the gym is complete.

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