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Schools may save $1 million on construction

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By Nathan L. McBroom

Because of lower-than-expected construction costs, the Shelby County Public School system estimates that it will save over $1 million on six upcoming building projects.

District officials estimated they would be shelling out $3.2 million dollars this summer to complete the construction of several local projects. However, when the district received all of the construction bids on the projects, they came in at just over $2.1 million. That's a total estimated savings of $1.04 million.

These prices represent the estimated construction of the building projects and do not include architect and engineer fees, contingencies, or other potential costs related to projects. These numbers reflect only monies related to construction, not the total project cost.

The upcoming projects range from adding parking spaces and a car rider loop at Heritage Elementary School, replacing the boiler at Shelby County High School and repairing the roof at SCHS and Simpsonville Elementary.

The biggest savings came on the construction of the entrance to new west campus. The district expected to pay up to $1.9 million for the entrance boulevard. But when all the bids were received, the lowest bid came in at close to $1.25 million. That saved the school system $651,000.

At a school board meeting on May 8, Kerry Whitehouse, assistant superintendent operations, told board members that the slow-down in the construction of new homes seems to be causing construction companies to put in lower than normal bids.

With virtually no increase in state funds this year and three new school buildings set to be built in the next eight years, the savings is good news for the district.