When they met this week, members of the Leavenworth Board of Education were briefed on school renovation projects that could cost more than originally planned.

When they met this week, members of the Leavenworth Board of Education were briefed on school renovation projects that could cost more than originally planned.

The projects at Richard Warren Middle School and Leavenworth High School were budgeted for as part of a $36.7 million bond issue that was approved by voters last year.

Board members took no action on the projects during Monday’s meeting.

“We’re not making any decisions tonight,” Superintendent Mike Roth said. “We’re just presenting information.”

Amber Beverlin with the architectural firm DLR Group said about $250,000 was budgeted in the bond issue for renovations to the kitchen at Warren Middle School.

But board members were presented with a plan for the kitchen that includes additional improvements. The total estimated cost for this plan is $852,756.

Roth said the upgraded plan presents an opportunity to replace equipment in the kitchen that is nearing the end of its life.
Roth said it is unknown how long the existing equipment will last. But if board members want to look at doing something different with the kitchen, he said, now is the time.

Greg Boice with Nabholz Construction said the additional renovations would make the kitchen, which would serve students from the middle school and a neighboring intermediate center, state-of-the-art and reduce energy usage. He said if there ever is a problem with the kitchen at Leavenworth High School, the Warren kitchen could be utilized in its place.

Board member Loyal Torkelson said he thinks the additional upgrades are wise because the equipment “will be going out in the future.”

Board President Doug Darling said updating the equipment in the kitchen is a significant expense that the school district would be looking at in the future.

Board member Nancy Klemp said that it seems like the additional improvements should have been planned at the beginning of the bond issue.

Beverlin said the budget figures for the kitchen renovations were reduced when the total for the bond issue was decreased.

At one point, school board members had been presented with a proposal for a $42 million bond issue. But voters approved only a $36.7 million bond issue.

The overall amount of the bond issue was reduced because state financial aid for the bond issue limited the total amount.

“The due diligence, I think, was taken,” Roth said.

He said the kitchen will be functional without the additional improvements, but it will not be as efficient.

Boice said the school district may be able to pay for the additional improvements through savings in other areas of the bond issue as well as the utilization of contingency money that may not be needed for other projects.

Darling asked when Boice will know whether the funding will be available.

Boice said he may have a better idea of how much money will be available in early November.

Beverlin also reviewed designs for a new security entrance for Leavenworth High School.

She said $309,750 was budgeted for this project as part of the bond issue.

She presented board members with designs for the entrance that range in estimated cost from $412,257 to $760,193.

“We certainly aren’t done,” Beverlin said.

She said people working on the project recognize the cost needs to be as close to the budgeted amount as possible.

Also during Monday’s meeting, board members were presented images of what the exterior of Lawson Elementary School may look like after it has been converted into an early childhood center as part of the bond issue.

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