Bids for Moving Preschool to North Park Higher than Expected

Bids for Moving Preschool to North Park Higher than Expected
Broken Bow Superintendent Darren Tobey (left) speaks to crowd about possible preschool project during an April 23 meeting at North Park Elementary.

BROKEN BOW—Plans to move New Discoveries Preschool to North Park Elementary have run into some issues with bids coming in nearly one million dollars higher than originally expected.

During Monday night’s school board meeting, Broken Bow Public Schools Superintendent Darren Tobey said the meeting with BD Construction (out of Kearney) “wasn’t great” even though the construction company had received nearly 50 bids.

“So we’re going to have some issues because of course it did not come in even close to where I need it to come in to make it feasible for the school district,” Mr. Tobey said.

The original estimate of the preschool addition, which is to include three preschool classrooms, additional sensory rooms, and office space, was quoted at approximately $1.992 million according to BD Construction during a February work session.

The new estimate received last week was $2.7 million with bids coming in for HVAC and electric much higher than everyone originally thought.

“It’s one million dollars more than what I wanted to spend,” Mr. Tobey said on Monday night. “To be honest I won’t do the project if it’s over $1.9 million because we just went to the community and said this is what we’re doing and this is how we’re doing it.”

Broken Bow School Board during a June 2019 meeting

For six months the district has been moving forward with developing plans for the new preschool so that the district can save money and become more efficient. Saving money on utilities at Custer School was part of the original plan and a preschool at North Park would also allow more resources to be available to students and teachers. Mr. Tobey said the community has much more to discuss but he said on Monday night that he is not interested in scaling back the project for fear of cutting too many corners.

Mr. Tobey continued, “I’m not interested in building something that’s going to look crappy when it’s all said and done. You know, I don’t want it to look cheap, I don’t want us to cut every corner that we can possibly cut and we end up having issues with it every single year. That’s not something we want to look at.”

When asked why the bid was so much higher than the original estimate, Mr. Tobey speculated that costs have gone up due to this year’s flooding. He voiced opinions that in order for this project to be completed, it may have to become a bonded item in the future. However, because the preschool project is not mandated by the state, Mr. Tobey felt a bond on the preschool probably would not pass based on the feedback he has received.

He concluded by saying that a new preschool addition would have to make sense financially for the district to complete the project and that he would not do it the way it is now. Mr. Tobey awaits more information from BD Construction and more community meetings could be in the future before other plans would take shape.

“As of last Thursday it doesn’t, as far as budget wise, it doesn’t look too promising,” Mr. Tobey said. “It’s not the end of the road but we definitely have a road closed sign in front of us right now and we’ll try to work around it.”

Also on Monday night, Treasurer J.B. Atkins said the district has seen an improvement in revenue and that it is under budget in expenditures. Currently the district is seeing a low cost per pupil but board members are thinking about spreading out the purchase of a new bus and new curriculum between two different years, which would require some money to be transferred from the general fund to the instructional fund. No decisions were made and the board will vote next month.

Assistant MS/HS Principal-Activities Director Jeff Ellis said 35 students are out for football, 27 girls are out for volleyball, 15 boys and 10 girls for cross country, and 12 girls are out for golf this fall.

Ellis said junior high zero-period weights so far has more than 20 seventh and eighth grade students which he felt was pretty good for this being the first year it is offered. He also said this week will feature a watermelon feed, team scrimmages, and various events hosted by FBLA, FFA, and One Acts.

Comments by School Board Members and Administrative Staff:
Pam: School looks great, Back to School Bash on August 12 went very well, almost ran out of hot dogs!
Kim: Off to a good start, kudos to the teachers, MAP testing started, hitting the ground running
Rusty: Exchange student from Spain, online ACT prep will begin next week
Darren: Leaps and bounds ahead of where we were last year

The public is welcome to attend the Budget Hearing and Work Session scheduled for Monday, September 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Click here to view the June 18 story
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Click here to view the April 23 story
Click here to view the April 18 story
Click here to view the February 9 story