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South High funding delayed

September 29, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

KEEDYSVILLE - The multi-million dollar renovation of South Hagerstown High School hit a bump Tuesday when the Washington County Commissioners learned the project will cost an additional $500,000.

The commissioners delayed action on a request for $539,000 until County Administrator Rodney M. Shoop and schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr. meet this week to discuss the details.

"We're going to have to figure out where the money is going to come from," Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said. "I can't say, 'Yes, go ahead and do it' without knowing where the money is going to come from. And I don't know."

The lowest bid for the project, submitted by Perini Construction Inc., was slightly higher than anticipated, said Dennis M. McGee, director of facilities management for the school system.

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In addition, 15 parts of the project that are not included in the base bid total $678,000, McGee said. These are jobs for which the state will not provide matching funds, he said.

McGee said the school system requested funding for eight of those jobs, at a cost of $317,000. These were items like parking lot lights and a fuel-oil tank that McGee said are necessary.

The rest - such as ceramic tiling - were left off the list because they were not vital, McGee said.

Several commissioners said they thought the $1 million they voted last week for the South High project from a general fund surplus could be used to make up the shortfall.

But McGee said that money had already been factored into the calculations.

Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers expressed frustration over the changing figures.

"There's been a million, there's been three quarters of a million," he said. "It seems like an awful lot of changes for this project."

McGee said figures have changed, in part because the renovation project is so large and complicated.

School board member Doris J. Nipps said the project also costs more because the strong economy has caused contractors to charge more for their services.

The school board hopes to award the contract at its meeting next Tuesday and begin the renovations later in the month.

In an interview after the meeting, held in Keedysville as part of the commissioners' community outreach program, school officials said they remain confident the details can be worked out in time for the commissioners to approve the extra money by their meeting next Tuesday morning.

School board officials must have a commitment for local funding when they meet with state officials Oct. 15.

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