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franklin county times

PCHS plans on track

Plans for the new Phil Campbell High School are back on track and the actual construction should begin as scheduled, Franklin County Superintendent Gary Williams said.
According to Williams, plans for the new high school had to be altered this month after the lowest bid for construction of the school came in more than $5 million over budget.
“We had originally budgeted between $17 million to $18 million and the lowest bid we got back in October was $23 million,” Williams said.
“We knew we were going to have to make some cuts and make some adjustments to make everything work.”
Williams said he met with the architect on the project on Wednesday and received a full list of changes, modifications, substitutions and deletions that brought down the total cost for construction to $17.3 million.
“They did value engineering, which basically means they made changes that would help us get back in budget and move forward with the project,” Williams said.
“Most of the things they changed or substituted that are listed in the proposal will be things that aren’t even noticeable and won’t affect the functionality of the school.”
Williams said, however, there were a few bigger changes that would definitely be noticeable.
“The first big change we had to make was taking out the auditorium and replacing it with a combination gym and auditorium, which just means we’ll have a stage inside the gym,” he said.
“I know this may not seem ideal to some, but we’ll have a seating capacity of 1,800 this way as opposed to a seating capacity of 600. We couldn’t have had big events like graduation inside the auditorium as it was, so there will be a few pluses to doing it this way, besides the lesser expense.
“The second biggest change is we won’t be able to have a track around the football field because of the amount of excavation that had to be done to put one in and the high cost associated with that excavation.
“We’ll still get to have a track, though,” he added. “It will just be located up behind the elementary school instead of around the field.
“I know this is something that was important so the students could have track meets at home and so the community could use it for exercise, so it’s good that we’ll still have a track put in, it just won’t be in the spot we originally planned on.”
Williams said there were also plans for building a new field house that wereuncertain at this time.
“What we’re going to do about the field house is up in the air right now,” Williams said. “It will depend on the construction as it goes along. If we don’t have any hidden expenses that creep up on us during construction, we’ll still be able to build the field house, but it will be on a smaller scale than we had planned for.”
Williams said there were no major changes made to the academic, administration and media center buildings.
“Even though we had to make some cuts, this is still going to be a quality facility,” Williams said.
“It will be something the whole community will be proud of once it’s complete.”
As it stands now, Williams said the architect estimated it would take two to three weeks to get the contract finalized and construction should start by the first of December as originally planned.
“Now that we have our budget issues resolved, we should be able to move forward and get started on construction, which I know everyone is anxious for.”