Niagara Gazette


June 23, 2014

Lew-Port officials need to cut capital project plan from $29.2M to $26.1M

Niagara Gazette — Lewiston-Porter has quite the battle on its hands. Only this time, it’s with itself.

In planning its $26.1 million capital improvement project, approved by voters in May 2013, the district may have gotten a little overzealous in selecting what needed to be upgraded. The result was submitting a project estimated to cost $29.2 million.

Unable to exceed the original price tag, district officials have been forced to make some reductions from the original plans, which are still awaiting approval by state education department officials since last fall.

“We’re a little stuck,” Superintendent Christopher Roser said. “The school board, myself and the architects sat down and worked hard to eliminate aspects we thought we could reduce. We do have some time because we still don’t have the approval we need from the state, but what’s been submitted is over budget. We’re struggling, but we’re ... not going to go out to bid until this winter.”

Working with the architects of Gordon W. Jones Associates, the district identified about $5.3 million of costs savings from the proposed project, but only $2.9 million was accepted by the district’s administration and school board members.

Site work, including the once-lauded redesign of the bus loop at the district’s high school, were casualties of the cuts, as was the parking lot maintenance at the middle school. Likewise, masonry projects at the middle, intermediate and primary buildings were also scrapped.

Given the project’s $3.1 million overage, coupled with the expected increase in construction cost estimates as the project has been put on hold a whole year due to a lack of approval from New York, the $2.9 million isn’t good enough, though.

With more cuts coming, Roser addressed the project’s status briefly during the district’s school board meeting Tuesday. For those looking forward to the district’s planned eight-lane swimming pool at the high school, there’s some disappointment ahead.

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