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RENOVATION/CONSTRUCTION BIDS APPROVED AT CUMBERLAND COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING

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The Cumberland County Board of Education considered bids for two major construction projects last night. Architect Kim Chamberlin of Upland Design Group outlined the scope of work for the Cumberland County High School football stadium and the new Crab Orchard Elementary School projects. The low bid for the stadium project was $2, 294,000 – submitted by Merit Construction Company.

Chamberlin said Merit, which is based in Knoxville and has previously been awarded contracts in Cumberland County, is “ready to proceed if the county is ready to authorize them to begin.”

He explained the extent of the stadium project, saying it would involve gutting what’s currently beneath the old concrete bleachers and installing bathrooms, visitor locker rooms and concession stands. The lower section of the stadium is being replaced; and new railings and code-compliant steps will be installed.

Even the running track will be replaced. “We’ve got to pull everything out,” Chamberlin said of the track. “It’s lived its life.” The new track will still be six lanes, which 4th District Board Member Josh Stone said is fine for track meets; however, in order to host regional competitions, the would need to have eight lanes. Chamberlin said there just isn’t room to put in an eight-lane track.

The low bid for the new Crab Orchard school came in at $9,989,000; it was submitted by Wilson Construction (which is the firm handling the renovation of the CCHS football field).

The low bid came in about a million dollars over the anticipated cost of the project. Because of the higher-than-expected bid, Upland Design Group is deducting its fees by $58,000 to help compensate for cost overruns. These overruns include $1.5 million for site work and $1 million for excavation work under the football field – which must be cleared of old construction debris and tires, among other detritus. “All this material will be brought out and suitable material brought in,” Chamberlin explained.

The Board unanimously approved both low bids. Meanwhile, a proposal regarding abatement of the existing Crab Orchard sewer issue – which, according to a unanimous decision by the Cumberland County Building & Grounds Committee last month, must be resolved prior to the Cumberland County Finance Committee’s approval of any bid on the Crab Orchard Elementary School-building project – is slated to be the sole topic discussed at a special called meeting June 6th.

In all, the county is undertaking a total of $13,783,903.35 in school construction/renovation projects. These include, in ascending order, $367,396 for the CCHS bathroom renovations; $463,450 for the CCHS football-field overhaul; $2,436,719.26 for the CCHS football stadium; and $10,516,338.09 for the new Crab Orchard Elementary School. These totals include $430,000 in contingency spending (which may or may not be needed to complete the projects).

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