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The price tag for Reedsburg’s new elementary school is higher than expected.

At a March 5 special school board meeting a more detailed plan for a budget and design was shared, where board members were informed the schematic building and onsite costs put together by contractor Kraemer Brothers, that included subcontractor and supplier costs, totaled at $23.8 million. At the building and grounds and finance committee meeting last month, a pre-schematic design and concept budget was shared.

While the costs lies within the budget range budget of the $24 million estimated costs in referendum approved last October, Business Manager Pat Ruddy estimated off site costs at $5 million to put the total project costs for the elementary school at over $28 million.

The idea of going over budget worried board members and they discussed if it was possible complete all projects with the $32 million referendum money approved last fall, which include updates to safety and security components of all the school districts buildings and building a new transportation facility.

“My concern is this, if we are being too high and we are not going to get everything done that we want to do with the $32 million that we have and we have to cut back in some place,” said LuAnn Brey, board member. “At what point do we do that”

Board member Neal Pulvermacher also voiced his concern about the total costs.

“When we get close to that $29 million range, even a million off in that, that gives you $28 million,” he said. “Does that give you enough leeway to work with some of those other things that everyone is going to want?”

Tom Benson, district administrator, said the reason for the meeting was to discuss the costs and come up with a plan to be within budget.

With costs predicted higher than expected, the board discussed options to cut back costs on projects with maintenance expenses like flooring and carpet costs.

Kraemer Brothers Vice President of Client Services Greg Callin said the reason for the estimates is so there are “no surprises” when bid day approaches. The next level of budgeting and design with a “guaranteed maximum price” will contain a more set budget and will be discussed in May. Callin said bid dates will not be final until June.

“Nothing has been bid what we are trying to do is anticipate what is going to happen on bid day,” Callin said. “We are trying to be as level and consistent as we can but what we hope for, that we can’t guarantee, is some level of savings on bid day.”

Other referendum projects

A concept budget was also shared for costs to safe and secure entrances which totaled $655,000, $33,000 less than the school district’s budget. However, Ruddy said the final cost for safe and secure entrances at Loganville Elementary School hasn’t been finalized yet and is coming up with a plan for safety and security components at Loganville.

“We’ve got two competing concepts, one of the options might have three of four variations and I don’t think anybody is happy with the different options that we have talked about for Loganville yet,” Ruddy said.

In terms of safety components at the other buildings, Ruddy said it was “pretty straight forward.”

“I think they accomplish the monitoring and controlling the access to our buildings at the front entrance,” Ruddy said.

Ruddy said the district is continuing to work with Architectural Design Consultants for the design of the transportation facility but said the budget was “slightly over” the $1.3 million budgeted for the project.

“We’re still continuing to work with them on that and bring that costs down or within the budget,” Ruddy said. “That’s not been finalized by any means but it is a work in progress.”

Contact Erica Dynes at 608-393-5346 or on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews.