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BCC trustees give nod to Camp Aldrich rebuild

Demolition of the fire-ravaged Camp Aldrich dining hall will begin next Tuesday, the first step in construction of a new building. The Barton Community College Board of Trustees met Thursday and approved an insurance settlement of more than $2 million to build a new dining hall. Fire destroyed the main building at BCC’s Camp Aldrich conference center last April.
Dean of Administration Mark Dean said demolition of the gutted dining hall and its basement could not begin until trustees approved this part of the settlement with the college’s former insurance company, EMC. (As of July 1 the college began a new fiscal year with new insurance companies.)

The college’s architect came up with a building estimate that was $320,000 more than the estimate from the insurance company’s architect. The insurance policy on the dining hall covered replacement costs for a comparable building built to current codes. This led to some areas of negotiation. For example, the new building must be accessible by Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. That includes the basement, so the college wants an elevator. However, a chair lift would meet the code minimum, and the insurance company’s obligation, Dean said. The settlement amount approved Thursday is $143,477 less than the BCC architect’s estimate, at $2,025,414.

The college will include an elevator in its plans, but anything beyond the settlement amount will be the college’s responsibility. One source of funding for cost overruns could be an oil well drilled last year on the Camp Aldrich grounds. The college has received about $70,000 to date from the well, Dean estimated. All money received on the well has to be spent on Camp Aldrich.
On the other hand, if the dining hall does come in under the $2 million, the college will use the difference for change orders on the contract. Any money not spent goes back to the insurance company.

Dean said additional expenses that the insurance company is responsible for are not included in the settlement approved Thursday. These are: demolition, inventory, fixed building equipment, BCC staff’s labor and loss of revenue. “Reimbursement for these items will be based on quotes provided to EMC and will be in addition to the agreed upon construction price,” Dean reported.

Roach Construction has the bid for demolition work, which is expected to take one week.
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said the dining hall may be finished by next summer. Camp Aldrich is already booked for every weekend in June of 2015.

Trustee Mike Minton commented that once the new dining hall is complete, Camp Aldrich will be another showcase facility for the college. “There won’t be anything like it in the state,” he said.
Dean said he’s also been meeting with Camp Hope officials, who use Camp Aldrich every summer, to discuss their “wish list” for the facility.  

Budget approved
Thursday’s meeting was also a public budget hearing. No one from the public commented on the budget, and it was approved by the trustees. Details of the budget were discussed at the last board study session, on July 24, and the Great Bend Tribune reported on that meeting in its July 25 edition. The budget approved calls for $8.9 million in property tax to be assessed for 2014. It is estimated the tax rate will be 33.105 mills, compared to last year’s actual tax rate of 32.798 mills.