Trigg County School Board members enthusiastically applauded the $10.8 million bid received from A&K Construction for planned renovations at the district’s vocational school, accepting the bid with a unanimous vote during its meeting on Thursday at the board offices.

The bid was good news for the district.

Chief Financial Officer Holly Greene said the school system will not have to borrow any money for the building project, which is expected to be complete by fall break of next year, said Director of Operations Matt Ladd.

Andrew Owens of Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects noted that the “substantial completion date” for the project is Oct. 1, 2023.

The district last fall was awarded a $10,000 grant through the state’s Local Area Vocational Education Centers effort, with the vocational school being one among nine schools in Kentucky receiving a portion of $75 million.

“We’re really happy for what it’s going to do for our kids and our staff,” said Ladd, who thanked both school officials and Owens for their contributions to the vocational project.

In addition to Owens, Ladd credited Greene, along with Career and Technical Education Director Faye Stevens, Trigg County Public Schools Superintendent Bill Thorpe and the district’s teachers for their work on the project.

He said together they tried to develop the best building design that they could while also trying to make it as economical as they could.

Owens said the base bid for the project was $7.9 million, not including several alternate items that will add costs to the building project.

Among those alternate items are door controls at an added cost of $31,000 and the integration of the fire alarm system into Trigg County High School at a cost of $16,000.

Additionally, four heating, ventilation and air conditioning units were in good condition for potential re-use, but Owens said officials also wanted the district to have the cost, i.e., $98,000, to replace those HVAC units “in the event we had the option to do so,” he said.

Yet another alternate, at a cost of $46,000, is for the integration of a “front door doorbell” visitors will push to enable them to speak with someone in the front office at the high school.

Site-work and replacement of the large canopy at the back of the high school has an additional cost of $578,000, Owens said.

Ladd explained the board had a choice of any of the alternates they would like, and the board members ultimately chose to keep them all, approving the project with a vote of 5-0.

Total construction with all the alternates is $8.7 million, board attorney Jack Lackey said.

Officials noted that the $10.8 million total cost for the project includes soft costs, contingency money and equipment costs.

It puts the price tag over the $10 million in grant funds awarded by the state, but there are extra funds available to help with the project costs including “extra laid back funding” of $360,000 from the next two years and savings of $200,000 from construction projects at the Trigg County Primary and Intermediate schools.

Greene also pointed to other investments that will net the district $147,000 in one year.

Owens said the district may have additional funds in contingency once the project is over.

He and Ladd noted that construction on the vocational school can begin as soon as possible.

In other matters, the board also approved a measure that will allow district Director of Transportation Erin Eagleson to request five diesel school buses through a Clean School Bus Program grant that will provide $375,000 per bus if the district is selected a recipient in addition to $20,000 per bus for a charging station for the electric vehicles.

Eagleson said he wanted to get as many buses as possible without affecting the district’s main fleet and recommended pursuing five buses.

He said this grant is through the Environmental Protection Agency and is for electric buses.

The board adopted a tax rate of 55.9 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

Greene said the board does not have to have a hearing because there has been a new interpretation of state statutes that allows the district to adopt a tax rate of 4% or below without a tax hearing.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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