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More CVHS cuts needed

Coupeville school officials have spent months trying to resolve higher-than-anticipated estimates for construction of a new high school.

They have reduced the size of the high school and have delayed construction of an auxiliary gym to save money on the construction project.

The Coupeville School Board will consider another round of cutbacks during a special meeting Monday night. Those cuts could shave an additional $615,000 off the cost for the new high school.

Gary Goltz, construction manager for the Coupeville School District, said another group of architects and engineers examined plans and came up with a list of ways to save money. He said the peer review process is a normal part of a school project.

The peer review found 35 items that could be potential savings and the board will decide whether to approve 19 of those items.

Goltz said the items provided different ways to go about building the high school such as putting in a tighter construction deadline.

Some of the items the peer review identified as potential savings but not being brought to the board for consideration included a water softener system. Goltz said Coupeville has hard water and such a system is crucial to protect the future school’s plumbing.

He said the proposed cuts won’t affect the quality of the future school.

“We wouldn’t do anything that would affect the quality of the building,” Goltz said.

The estimates for the high school should become more accurate in the coming months. In July, school officials will get an idea how accurate their estimates are when bids for clearing the construction site come in. That project goes out for bid in late July. The district will have two more estimates done on the project before construction starts early next year.

Construction of the high school is funded by a $22.8 million bond approved by voters in May 2004. That bond was supposed to fund a variety of other projects including construction of an auxiliary gym, develop replacement athletic fields at Engle Field and a variety of renovation projects throughout school district buildings.

Plans changed, however, when estimates for the high school came in millions more than expected due to inflation in the construction industry. To save money, the size of the 58,200 square-foot high school was slightly reduced and several lower-priority projects were delayed. Officials delayed the $3 million auxiliary gym project until the school district receives matching money from the state.

While officials work to reduce the costs of the high school, preparation for construction continues. Clearing of the athletic field that is the new high school location begins later this summer. Last week high school football players, middle school students and members of the Coupeville Garden Club volunteered to move the school’s greenhouse off the building site.

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