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Expansion estimated higher than expected

August 18, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Three bids for expanding Jefferson High School were higher than the cost estimates developed by school officials, who now plan to sit down with state authorities in an attempt to reach a solution.

The state School Building Authority pitched in $10.6 million for the expansion and the Jefferson County Board of Education set aside $500,000, making about $11.1 in funding available for the project.

Perini Construction of Hagerstown submitted the lowest bid at $10.8 million. The proposal did not include architect and engineering fees, costs for a construction manager and a contingency for cost overruns and change orders, school officials said.

Adding those items would raise the cost to about $11.9 million, said schools spokeswoman Liz Thompson.

The base bids from the three contractors also did not include other improvements, such as an expanded cafeteria, two parking lots, a bus loop and library furnishings, officials said. Adding those items to the project would bring the cost to about $14 million, according to Thompson.

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The Board of Education wants to have a meeting with the authority to determine if more money can be raised for the project, said Thompson. State officials may be able to recommend a way to get lower bids, she said.

School officials want to expand Jefferson High to allow the county's 600 ninth-graders to move into the building. Ninth-graders are being shifted into the school as part of the county's plan to move from a junior high to a middle school concept.

Currently, junior high is made up of grades seven through nine. Under the middle school concept, middle schools will include grades six to eight, and ninth-grade students will move to the high school.

School officials want to break ground on the high school expansion late this month or early next month.

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