ES board approves bid for elementary school remodel

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

By Billy Stidham

The Eureka Springs School Board voted Monday to approve Legacy Construction Management’s bid to remodel the elementary school — with some stipulations.

Architect Josh Siebert with Modus Studio approached the board with an update to the bidding process.

“We solicited six bidders that were earmarked for the project, we advertised to pretty much the entire state,” Siebert said. “On bid day we had three solid bids that were qualified bids,” he said.

Siebert reminded the board that, “sometimes the lowest bid is not always the right bid.”

He added that he had worked with the Fayetteville-based construction company in the past.

“Legacy and I have done numerous projects together.” he said. “I understand [Legacy’s] qualifications well and they can handle projects of all scales.”

Siebert said Legacy’s bid was $452,841.

“I think we can get that down to about $400,000,” Siebert said. “There’s some opportunity for us to scale that back if we want to at this time. I would propose going with them with the caveat that we work within a budget that [the board] is comfortable with since this exceeded our projected $300,000 baseline we initially came to you with if we didn’t do the cafeteria.”

He added that, “Now is better than later on cost. Increasingly we’ve seen cost go up over the years way more than we expected.”

Board vice president Al Larson moved to accept Legacy as the low-cost bidder with the exception that the project not exceed $410,000. The board approved the motion unanimously.

Earlier the board also voted to participate in a program offered by the Arkansas Public Resource Center that will equip teachers with purchasing cards.

“Each teacher in grades kindergarten through sixth gets $500 by law,” Superintendent Bryan Pruitt said. “We can give them that purchase card with that amount on it.

“We can also select what vendors [are approved], it’s all tracked… it’s just an easier way for us to purchase supplies for our school without issuing numerous checks,” Pruitt continued. “If a teacher goes on a trip we can put funds on their purchase card and pay their hotel and food [costs],” he said.

The board also approved meal price increases for next year.

According to Pruitt, elementary and middle school student lunches will increase by 10 cents from $2.25 to $2.35, adult breakfasts will be raised five cents from $2.10 to $2.15, adult lunches will increase from $3.55 to $3.65 and high school lunches will remain at $2.50 across the board.

The board also approved student handbook changes, including a dress code amendment that will allow hats inside the building with certain stipulations.

Another change is that the semester test exemption policy will be revised to only allow exemptions for the second semester.

“I feel like soon the state is going to take away exemptions — I think this is a way to ween the kids off of that,” Pruitt said.

The board also approved lowering the cost of student Chromebook insurance from $25 to $15.

“In the past we have charged the $25 insurance,” Pruitt said.

“Now if they break the screen or tear up the keyboard we will split that cost with them.”

The board accepted Karen Johnson’s resignation from the position of elementary library media specialist, and hired Carrie Reece as library media specialist and Kevin Vaverka as a school nurse contingent upon background checks. The board also voted to rehire classified staff for 2019-2020.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 8.

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