Bids to renovate the Majestic Theatre came in above estimates so what happens next is uncertain.
Lexington Public Schools is owner of the property that became a student led project four years ago.
In 2010 students identified re-opening the town’s only theater - the Majestic, which closed in 2009 - as a way to better the community. The proposal came up when they met to brainstorm ideas for a project with the National Network for Educational Renewal led by University of Nebraska at Kearney professors Peter Longo and John Anderson.
Lexington Public Schools became a partner in February 2012 when they agreed to help students purchase the theater and some equipment for $75,000. A high school construction class has been working to gut portions of the theater in preparation for renovations, which are to be paid for with non-school funds. Money for the project comes from fundraising, donations and a community development block grant awarded to the city of Lexington.
Superintendent John Hakonson told board members during Monday night’s meeting that they have the option of rejecting the bids or scaling down the project to make up for the $300,000 deficit.
“There is some pressure not to reject the bids,” said Hakonson. “Right now it remains an unresolved issue.”
Deciding the matter was not an action item during the meeting, although information regarding the matter was discussed during a building and grounds committee report.
The board will have a special meeting at 6:30 a.m. on April 22nd to decide the matter.
The completion target for the entire project is 2015, the same year the original group of students who adopted the project will graduate from high school.
LPS Building and grounds supervisor Bo Berry will act as general contractor in work to be done at the former National Guard Armory to prepare the site for high school automotive classes in the upcoming school year.
The building needs electrical work, the addition of an exhaust system and the installation of American Disabilities Act compliant bathrooms. Drawings of work needed will be completed within two weeks, followed by advertising for bids. Board members plan to look at bids and take action at their May 12th meeting.
Berry said there is ample time to get the work done during the summer. The new classes are being arranged in cooperation with Central Community College and students will receive college credit. Both double-block classes with 15 students each are filled, said high school principal Kyle Hoehner.
Board member Ray Ehlers asked about the cost estimate for the project and was told it is unknown. Hakonson said the district has budgeted at least $100,000 for the project.
Board members approved the low bid of $192,361 from Midwest Floor Covering, Inc. of Lincoln for demolition work, materials and labor to re-carpet selected areas of Lexington Middle School.
Hakonson said the carpet being replaced is worn out. “We’ve tried to get 20 years out of it and we’re reasonably close,” he said.
The carpet being installed will match floor coverings being placed in the new addition and that work is also being done by the same company, which specializes in commercial work.
When board member Ray Ehlers expressed concern that a local company wasn’t being awarded the contract, he was told that the $40,000 bid difference was too great to not go with the lowest bidder. Midwest Floor Covering, Inc. has installed carpet for the district in each of the recent construction projects.
Other bids came from Lexington, Elwood and Kearney.
LMS principal Scott West said work would begin as soon as school ends.
The board also approved a $11,539 contract with Kidwell for IP based door access controls on the middle school addition. Controls for the YMCA portion of addition are $4,995 more. Costs are based on the actual number of doors, said Berry, of why the school portion is higher.
He said security between the middle school and YMCA shouldn’t be an issue. “As long as the building is locked properly, anyone who accesses the YMCA is confined to the new addition,” said Berry.
Board members approved accepting a used whirlpool tub from Lexington Regional Health Center. The whirlpool will be installed in the high school athletic training room, making two tubs available to student athletes.
“It’s a real simple installation,” said Berry. “For $150 in parts we’re going to get a $1,000 whirlpool.”
Board members authorized the sale of excess weightlifting equipment and the disposal of old desks and parts. They will advertise for bids on the weightlifting equipment, which is to be sold as a package, for a minimum of $3,000.
The board authorized spending $4,844 for on-line dual language materials from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to give students learning Spanish through the elementary dual language program, advanced options when they reach middle school and high school. Eventually high school students will be able to receive up to 12 hours of credit from UNK at a reduced per credit hour cost.
The building and grounds committee talked about plans for improvements at the high school based on sketches that were originally drawn up at the time of deciding the scope of the current middle school project. The preliminary plans include additional parking, redesigning and relocating the weight room, expanding the wrestling room and reconfiguring administrative offices.
“There’s no plan to go forward with anything at this time,” said Hakonson, but he said the district was working with architects to get a gross cost estimate on the project.
The board’s legislative and finance committee said the district will have the recommended cash reserves of three month’s of expenditures at the end of the fiscal year. The district’s 2014-2015 wish list however, is greater than funds available, so the school board will need to prioritize items. There aren’t cash reserves for doing a major project at once so future projects may need to be stretched over a period of time.