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Projected cost of new construction at Southside comes in high, savings sought

The estimated cost for construction of a new administrative building and classrooms at Southside Elementary School came in higher than school system officials had projected and now options to lower the overall cost are being evaluated, according to Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard.
Finance Officer Dan Broome said Tuesday that the school system did not want to spend more than $6.5 million on the new construction at Southside, but that the estimates received from a cost estimating firm Architect Ray Finger submitted his plans to for evaluation came in at over $7 million.
Dr. Gilliard said, “We were not surprised that the cost came in higher, but now we are looking at how we scale the project back, but not diminish the project or dramatically alter the plans.” The project as designed would create a net gain of eight additional classrooms at Southside, so one option would be to reduce the number of classrooms included in the project, he said.
According to Broome, the cost of each classroom is approximately $150,000.
Gilliard said he is planning to bring back a recommendation to the board at a later date.
On Tuesday night, the superintendent also reported that he had executed the construction contract with Barber Contracting Company of Moultrie for the Southside Elementary School auditorium renovation project.
The school board has approved a plan to preserve the historic auditorium, but the main building at the school will be razed and will be replaced by what is known as the Southside A,B,C project, which includes a new administrative wing and new classroom wings on the east end of the campus with the new front of the school facing Fourth Avenue S.E. rather than Third Street S.E.
Dr. Gilliard said that Barber personnel will either fence off or rope off areas to identify new traffic patterns for students prior to the first day of school later this month.
“We have received our permit from the state fire marshal’s office so we are ready to go once Barber Contracting reopens following a traditional summer shutdown. The entire company closes down around the Fourth of July each year, but someone will be here Monday,’ Dr. Gilliard said.
In addition to fencing off areas outside, the superintendent said Barber officials will seal off the section of the main building that is part of the auditorium project. Administrative offices were temporarily relocated to the media center last school term.

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