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School board approves $4.8 million project
Capital Outlay funds used for Support Services Facility
Shown is the building at 625 East 10th St. in Great Bend that USD 428 will develop into its new Support Services Facility, including the Central Kitchen. - photo by BY DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

This time next year, Great Bend USD 428 officials hope to have a new Central Kitchen in operation at the Support Services Facility at 625 East 10th St. On Monday, the Board of Education approved a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) of $4,821,505 for work on the facility, which will also house the Maintenance, Custodial, and Transportation departments. 

They also approved two of three alternate add-ons: $39,426 for additional kitchen equipment and $9,315 for recommended electrical gear. They haven’t ruled out the third add-on, which is $27,408 to have the existing kitchen equipment at the current Central Kitchen, located at 2201 Broadway, disconnected and relocated at a cost of $27,408. Without that add-on, USD 428 employees will do that work.

The meeting was attended by Matt Hamm from SJCF Architecture and by Todd Dumler and Jake Oberlechner from McCown Gordon, the district’s Construction Manager at Risk.

Also present were the department heads who will be in the facility: Cody Schmidt, director of grounds and transportation; Dirk Davis, maintenance director; and Kristy Alvord, food services director.

Assistant Superintendent John Popp said the project was scaled back from earlier plans.

“We’re trying to keep the costs down,” he said.

The kitchen needs to be completely separate from the maintenance and transportation side, and a lot of the expense is in that part of the building. The rest of the building doesn’t need as much modification but it does need a good heating system.

“(The previous owners) used an oil-burner to heat the space,” Superintendent Khris Thexton explained.

Dumler said they started with a $6.2 million budget and then worked with the district to bring the cost of the project down to $5.5 million and finally to $4.82 million. For example, the district will be re-using some lockers already in the building and an asphalt parking lot was eliminated from the plans.

There are numerous local subcontractors, Oberlechner said. More than 70 vendors bid on everything from earthwork to mechanical work and plumbing. “These are all people with Great Bend addresses.”

“Local vendors thought they were treated well,” Schmidt said.

Dumler said the GMP includes a 2% contingency fee for any unexpected costs that arise.

“We know that the sewer line is on the other side of the road,” he said, citing an example. What’s not known is whether a lift station will be needed.

School Board President Jacquie Disque asked the department heads, “What are we not getting?” She asked them to speak up about anything excluded that they need.

There were items they wanted that were excluded, but the department heads spoke positively about what they are getting.

“We pretty much have everything we would need,” Davis said.

“I’m a grounds guy,” Schmidt said. “We cut out the site work (but) I think that’s stuff we can do internally.”

“Our biggest need is space,” Alvord said of the Central Kitchen. And at the new site, “we have space. I’m happy with it.”


The school board approved the purchase of the former Central Power Systems & Services’ 33,000-square-foot building and the land it sits on last December for $1.55 million. Originally, Thexton estimated the renovation would cost $2.6 million, not counting the cost of the property.

Renovating the building will cost less than building new,  Popp said. However, by April he also reported that because of inflation he expected it would be more costly than the earlier estimate. Including the property cost, the total is $6.37 million before add-ons.

Funds for the project will come from the district’s Capital Outlay budget.