The Cleveland Board of Education site committee met with Upland Design Group Wednesday morning in an effort to decrease the costs associated with the Cleveland High gymnasium.
The meeting came on the heels of the Cleveland City Council’s request of the city school system to fund $1 million of the project.
Projections for demolition and construction attach a $12 million price tag to the project.
Site committee chair Dr. Murl Dirksen pointed out the school system does not have $1 million to give toward the project.
“We don’t have any revenue we are generating,” he said. “I don’t know where [some] of the City Council members are coming from — if they think we have a hidden pot of gold someplace.”
Architect Brian Templeton made three suggestions to lower the overall cost of the $12 million project by almost $1 million.
- List the 3,500-square-foot weight room-cardio space as a bid alternate. Contractors could price the project, but the school board could say no to the addition. The design currently has the weight and cardio room positioned beside the building.
The total project cost for the weight and cardio room is estimated to be around $500,000.
Cleveland High Principal Autumn O’Bryan reminded board members the weight and cardio room is still a necessity.
“We have two storage containers full of equipment right now. It is definitely a concern,” O’Bryan said. “We want to work, and we are going to work, as hard as we can to find a partnership along those lines, but I don’t want us to go, ‘OK, well we are going to work that problem out later.’”
Continued O’Bryan, “It is still a very high priority. Not having that weight room is a detriment to Cleveland High School. ... We need to continue to fight for it.”
- Postpone the redevelopment of the area below the lobby.
- Decrease the number of bleachers from 2,700 seats to 2,400.
Templeton also requested the board’s permission to allow Tri-Con construction to provide a pro-bono estimate of the project costs. He said the total project cost is a moving target at this time.
“We are looking at options to try and trim the fat, to trim the costs,” Templeton said. “It is not fat.”
Board member Dawn Robinson pointed out the Basic Education Program funds provided by the state do not include much in the way of capital funds. The state-governed BEP did not include the capital funds component for the past several years. Robinson said it was reinstated in this year’s program.
Business manager Brenda Carson said the money provided by the BEP is placed into a funding formula, not a spending plan.
“So, those funds can be used elsewhere, which is what we have had to do, because we have not had any new money from the city in four years,” Carson said. “With natural growth, everything is more expensive. We have had to hire new personnel. ... With no other source of new revenue, anything that is in that BEP formula has gone toward personnel salaries, and that sort of thing, which is 85 percent of our budget.”
Dirksen reminded board members to thank City Council members for the consideration and work they have placed into the gymnasium project.