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Elevator gets lift it needs

After seeing fees list, board OKs installation

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011 12:23 p.m. CDT

In a little more than a year, Morris Community High School will have its first elevator.

After receiving a fee breakdown it requested from its architecture firm, GreenAssociates Inc., the Morris Community High School District 101 Board ap-proved the project unanimously at its regular meeting Monday.

“This is what I wanted to see,” said board member John Maddox.

At last month’s meeting, Maddox said he was concerned with what the “soft costs” listed in the contract were. He asked Halloran to get a break down of the fees before the board voted on it.

The school currently uses a lift system for students and other individuals who are in wheelchairs or are unable to use the stairs.

The weight limit of the current lifts are near capacity. The cost to update each of the school’s lifts would be $50,000 to $100,000 per lift.

An elevator can handle much more weight than just upgrading the lift and will also be used for more than just transporting people, such as deliveries to all levels of the building.

The project is estimated to cost about $324,000 and will be done by GreenAssociates. The district has saved Tax Increment Financing District dollars in its Capital Projects Fund for the last three years for the project, said Superintendent Dr. Pat Halloran.

The construction costs of the project are $240,000, according to a memorandum to the district from GreenAssociates. In addition, there is almost $42,000 in design and construction contingency fees, which is to cover any unanticipated costs. About $42,000 additional is for architectural fees.

“What’s important about the contingency money is if we don’t get into it, we keep it,” Maddox said.

The elevator is expected to be completed in October 2012, and will be located near the outside entrance of the cafeteria at the back of the school. It will be located in an outside canopy on the corner of the building.
SPENDING PLANS

In other financial matters the board approved the fiscal year 2012 tentative budget. At the Sept. 12 meeting a budget hearing will be held.

From the fiscal year 2011 amended budget, there is a revenue decrease for the Education Fund of $838,554. Of this total revenue, $313,600 is a decrease in local revenue due to decreased property tax dollars coming in. In addition, there is an expected decrease of $365,074 from the state and $159,880 from federal funds, Halloran said.

The expenditures from the Education Fund are expected to decrease by $337,781 from last year. Much of this is due to a salary and benefit decrease of $296,624 due to retirements and the district removing some positions on its staff.

“It’s a salary decrease of 6 percent in the Education Fund. That’s a good thing. It’s where we need to be,” Halloran said.

Next year, there is one retirement expected and the district will discuss absorbing that position, he said.

Halloran also pointed out the district has an increase in supply costs of about $120,000 due to an increase of textbooks needed with the new school schedule. This was expected.

Overall the district is looking at about a $14 million budget, with a $562,285 decrease in revenue overall and a $119,354 increase in expenditures. These numbers include the elevator costs.

Halloran described the budget as “tight” and said they will know more next month when there is more of an idea of when state payments will be received.

“We have guarded optimism with this budget this year,” he said.

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