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Ludlow Changes Plans for Gym Addition in Effort to Lower Costs

Ludlow Independent Schools Superintendent Michael Borchers asked the school board for official consent to accept revised bidding documents on the approximately 1700 sq. ft. addition planned for the front of the gym that would house health equipment. The project had gone out for bid in September and three companies submitted the project, but they were all between $549,000 and $590,000, quite a bit above what the board was prepared to pay for the project.

Borchers and architect Ehmet Hayes went back to the drawing board and redesigned the building addition, making it more of a stand-alone addition with separate entrances, and no access directly from the gym. The new building will be about 22 feet out from the gym to the street, and 88 feet wide across the front of the gym building, leaving it approximately 8 to 10 feet off the sidewalk.

Since it will be free standing, it does not have to have a new alarm system or extra ramps, which will cut down on how much the project will cost. Borchers is hoping to come closer to a cost of $225,000 with these changes, and Monday night, at a special board meeting, the board gave Borchers the go-ahead to accept the revised bidding documents. The plan is to get the bids out so that the project work can begin in November.

Also, since the project is smaller, the board voted to waive the services of a geotechnical engineer.

Other notes:

Borchers announced that the Average Daily Attendance is fourteen students ahead of last year.

"This is very positive," he said. "Also we have good class sizes, and we are solid on attendance. The kindergarten numbers are down a little, but we believe that is because of new requirements."

He mentioned that the energy bill has been going down by an average of $1,000 per month because the district redid the heating and air conditioning at the high school. The elementary school still has window units, but the plan is to have the entire district on the new heating and air system by next summer so that the monthly savings can be even more substantial.

All computers in the district are now up to date, and the district hopes to take advantage of the e-­rate, a federal project which will infuse $100,000 into the schools to upgrade wireless connections in the district, and they will only have to put in about $8,000 to match.

In another match, the board voted to accept the School Facilities and Construction Commission's offer of assistance for KETS in the amount of $6,986 to help the district improve technology. The amount is to be matched by the school district every year and Borchers said the money is already in the budget. 

Finally, Borchers announced that the district will celebrate the good job the students did on testing this year by holding a carnival of sorts for the elementary school to attend on October 30 in the morning hours and for the high school in the afternoon hours the same day.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor