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USD 428 board asked to consider building project
Project might cost up to $2.1 million
new slt school board
An artist's rendering shows how a new maintenance building/bus barn north of the Great Bend USD 428 District Education Center might look. In this rendering, the district office has also been remodeled and a new facade creates a unified look. The school board is considering whether to move forward with plans for the new building and renovation of the DEC. - photo by Submitted image

Great Bend Superintendent Brad Reed asked the board of education Monday if it could get behind a plan for a new maintenance building/bus barn next to the District Education Center, and remodeling of the DEC.
Architect Don Marrs provided early schematics for both projects, which he said could be completed by the fall of 2017 for about $2.1 million or less.
Reed said the money would come from capital outlay funds with no additional money from taxpayers and without leaving the reserves dangerously depleted. He said he wasn’t asking for 100 approval Monday night, but a vote to “move forward.”
Board members will have opportunities to weigh in on the specifics of any buildings. Board members were encouraged to visit the downtown facility, talk to Maintenance and Custodian Director Dirk Davis and bring their own expertise to the architect so he could “tweak” the schematic drawing presented.
However, board members said they need more time to consider the idea, and Marrs said in that case it would be more feasible to plan on being in the facilities – if approved – by September 2018.
To have the work done by September 2017, the board would need to approve a contract by February.
“To me that doesn’t seem like a realistic goal,” said board member Dr. Larry Kutina.
Board member Susan Young said the scope of the project was more than she expected, and she also wanted more time before taking action.
Reed said the board should keep inflation in mind, but said he understood.
“I tend to move fast on things,” he said. “We’ve been looking at this for months. I understand that the board needs time.”
Young said one thing to consider is whether there are other major capital improvement projects that need to be done. Reed said he’d like each elementary school in the district to have a safe room eventually, something Young also said is needed. Taking another month will allow time to explore priorities, she said.

The building
The current maintenance building, located downtown on Lakin Ave., is outdated, Reed said, adding the district is “very much in need” of a new building.”
“You can’t have facilities like this in your district forever,” Reed said.
Marrs showed his “estimate of probable construction cost” for the new building and the remodel in the next year. He said his estimate included architect and engineering fees, and an additional 15 percent as a contingency. His estimates represented the “worst case scenario.”
The estimate for the bus barn and maintenance shop comes to $1,575,000, for an 18,000 square-foot building and 33,000 square feet of concrete paving. This includes a new septic system and domestic water well and a sprinkler system. However, costs might be less if the school district could get on the water and or sewer services of the City of Great Bend.
The existing building is 15,000 square feet.
The fence around district property would need to change.
“I think that adds an extra layer of security,” Reed said. A fence that keeps people from driving up to the front door any time of day could prevent vandalism, such as the bullets fired into the building last month, he said.
The new building could have a tornado shelter that would serve both buildings.
“We feel that footprint will be a building that will be useful to the district for some time,” Reed said. “You’re building this building for decades to come.”
Asked about inflation, Marrs said he doesn’t have a crystal ball and doesn’t know how the new presidential administration and other things will affect prices. “This turnkey number is an estimate,” he said. “The further we get into this the more sharp figures become.”

District office
The probable cost for remodeling the district office was $498,000. That also included fees and a 15 percent contingency. The board meeting room would become larger, seating 60 people easily and perhaps 100 or more. There would be more space for meetings and district training, which goes on frequently, Reed said, again asking the board to think in the long term.
“We feel like this is a need, and we’re in a good financial situation to do these things.” And while he is ready to move forward, he said the board has no time limitations to approve the plan, or not.