School project remains on schedule for now

It appears for now that Yuma School District-1’s taxpayer-approved and BEST Grant-supported $32 million renovation/expansion project will proceed as scheduled.
The Yuma-1 Board of Education was given a project update during its regular monthly meeting at the district office in beautiful downtown Yuma, Monday night. All five board members were bravely in attendance: Dan Ross, Duane Brown, Kim Langley, Thomas Holtorf and Lindsey Galles.

Superintendent Dianna Chrisman and Chad Rayl of owner’s representative Project One, provided the update.
They acknowledged that they had learned Monday during a telephone meeting with Neenan Archistruction, the design/build firm hired by the district to do the job, that it was ceasing construction on its current projects for up to 30 days — in response to trying to flatten out the curve of the current COVID-19 outbreak.
The board was told that of now it does not impact the Yuma project, which is still two months or more away from entering the construction phase. Work is continuing on securing the proper permits, though it was noted the Neenan personnel currently are working their their homes.
Rayl told the board that contractors and construction workers want to get to work, and that construction still is considered “essential” by the state leaders. He gingerly noted that with the school being cleared out because of the COVID-19 scare, it could potentially benefit the project in that workers could possibly get started earlier on some of the initial work.
The first change order came during Monday’s meeting.
It is due to the location of the new auxiliary gym being moved from the proposed new wing to the south end of the current building. That decision resulted in new design costs from Neenan since it took more time.
Neenan had first sought a $281,000 cost due to the design change, but the district and Project One had gotten it down to $237,000. The board was told that relocating the auxiliary gym increases the square footage of the remodel area, but also reduced the size of the new wing. It also was noted that the current part of YHS is going to be remodeled — except for the auditorium and The Pit —to the extent that it will appear to be as new as the west addition.
The board was told the change order presented Monday night was the fourth interation of the initial change sought by Neenan. It will come out of the contingency fund, and does not change the project’s overall cost.
Ross said he knew this was coming when the decision to change the auxiliary gym location was made. The board voted 5-0 to approve the change order.
The board also approved authorizing Chrisman to make decisions on change orders up to $35,000, with anything above that amount having to be approved by the board.
Rayl with Project One explained that change orders come up for a variety of reasons throughout a project, and there will be times the superintendent will have to make a decision prior to the next board meeting. Rayl said $35,000 would be a good threshold. He noted that it seems high, but when a change comes in for something like, for example, drywall, the labor costs could add up quickly. Anything above $35,000 would need board approval, and the board will remain “in the loop” on change orders below that amount.
Brown asked why $35,000 instead of a threshold of, for example, $50,000. Rayl said he thinks $35,000 is reasonable for the size of this project, adding that he thought $50,000 “might be getting up there.”
The board also was told the district has not heard anything negative back from the Colorado Department of Education in regards to the final schematic design approved by the board at its February meeting, so the thought is everything is good in that regard.
The drawings now are into the design/development stage, involving electrical, mechanical, plumbing and the like. The board was told local tradesmen will have input in this phase, providing input on whether or not the systems would be something they can maintain through the years.

Then will come the contract drawings, followed by determining a “Guaranteed Maximum Price” with Neenan. The first draft of the GMP will be completed during the first part of April, after which the parties will work on finalizing that figure.
It possibly will be ready for board approval by its regular monthly meeting in April. If not, Rayl said it might require a special meeting later in the month in which the board approves the final GMP.

More meeting
Ross personally thanked Vicki Bushner for her nearly three decades of service as the elementary school music teacher. Bushner has submitted her resignation, effective at the end of the current school year, after a long and decorative career as the K-3 music teacher.
Other personnel moves approved by the board Monday night included the separations and resignations of Stacey Mendinghall as food service cashier and custodial help, Deserae Cortez as custodian, and Brittnee Blach as a teacher’s assistant at Little Indians Preschool. Employee authorizations approved were Mendinghall for the same position for which her separation/resignation was approved, Emily Corral as YMS custodian, and Elena Melendez as food services cashier at YMS.
All activity trip requests have been cancelled through April 17, due to the state’s order to close all schools through that date. However, the board did ratify several student trips that took place in the past month, including the YHS cheerleaders to the state wrestling tournament in February, the boys basketball team to regional at Clear Creek High School, March 6-7, and the girls basketball team to regional to Rye High School on the same dates. (Ahh, remember those days?)
Donations recognized by the board included $900 from Gary Newton to YHS wrestling, and $400 from Bank of Colorado to the YHS boys basketball for state tournament meal expenses.