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April 2021 Building Project Update
Hello Panther Family!
I have always been told that “a thing worth doing is worth doing well.” One thing that I expected to be doing -- and doing well-- this month at Pickford Public Schools was to be kicking off the demolition and construction necessary to turn our carefully crafted Building Project plans into reality.
As many of you will remember, our voters passed an $8.5 million dollar millage proposal in November 2019 that would allow us to renovate and upgrade existing areas of our building, complete site improvements, enhance safety and security measures, and make building additions that are necessary to house our growing student population. After nearly a year of design discussion and development, monthly meetings of our Project Steering Committee, budgeting, transition planning, and preparation for moving and storage, we were ready! Our planned project completion window was set to begin in late March 2021 and conclude in December 2021 with a phased in approach to occupying the new parts of the building as they were completed. Our plans were thorough and thoughtful and designed to minimize disruption of our students, staff, and processes.
Sometimes the best made plans don’t come to fruition and instead of working our plans, we are currently practicing our patience and flexibility. Due to several factors -- COVID related issues interacting with our rural geographic location-- the bids came in quite a bit over estimates. When we went out to bids in January, we were expecting, based on consultation from our construction managers, a variance of +/- 5%. As of early February, based on the bids we had received, we were facing the issue of being over budget for the project by approximately 40%. Obviously this would keep us from delivering the finished product that we had proposed!
Project Steering Committee members, including members of our Board of Education and our Administrative Team, have spent a great deal of time looking at various cost reduction strategies and value engineering opportunities suggested by contractors during the post-bid interviews. Even with these potential savings implemented, and a probable rebid of some categories, the proposed budget was still forecasted to remain "over budget" by nearly $1.1 million. We are VERY reluctant to institute the BIG cuts to the budget that would bring us within budget parameters because these cuts would also take out MAJOR components of the project that made it appealing to our voters.
This leaves us with little choice at this time other than to circle back, revisit our designs, and see what a new round of bidding in a revised timeline will bring us. We have started that process and are anticipating that even more information can be gained by survey and discussion with our architects, engineers, construction management team, and contractors. It will also help us to get some time and distance from COVID related issues. We have decided to change up our project timeline to allow us to access bids that will allow us to deliver what we promised to our community. We are scheduled to receive bids again in early fall and the new project window will run from March 2022 to December 2022.
We wanted to ensure that everyone was informed and understood our revised plan for project completion. The important thing to know is that we are moving forward, just at a different pace, and possibly via some different routes than we originally planned. We ask for your continued patience and flexibility as we work through this postponement. We know you will have lots of questions, and we want to be sure you get them answered. There are a lot of moving parts with this project, and we want to communicate as completely, clearly, and accurately as possible with our taxpayers. We have a regular update on the progress of the project at our monthly Board of Education meetings. You can read these updates in the meeting minutes and superintendent reports on our website. We will be developing a page to post project updates and pictures on our website. Look for that to be launched before the end of June. You can also contact the District Office at 906 647-6285 if you have any questions. We build great futures at Pickford Public Schools, and we are committed to providing the very best building and grounds possible for our school family and community. We truly believe that a thing worth doing is worth doing well!
Mrs. Angela Nettleton
Phone: 906-647-6285 ext. 2204