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Published October 15, 2013, 09:31 AM

School Board OKs new elementary school's designs

The Grand Forks School Board approved on Monday the construction designs of the new elementary school, receiving a first glimpse of the school and more definite project costs.

By: Jennifer Johnson, Grand Forks Herald

The Grand Forks School Board approved on Monday the construction designs of the new elementary school, receiving a first glimpse of the school and more definite project costs.

Representatives from JLG Architects, the firm designing the building, presented the board with two main options for constructing the new school, which is planned to be built on the city’s south end and anticipated to open in 2015.

The new school could be constructed with classrooms on both floors of the building, or the first floor and part of the second floor and adding classes later on as needed, they said.

The board has until the end of 2014 to make a decision on expanding classrooms to the second floor, said Lonnie Laffen, president of JLG Architects. Construction is slated to start in May.

Construction costs

A school holding up to 350 students is estimated to cost $13.6 million, according to documents from JLG.

This estimate includes classrooms on the first floor, a library, gym, cafeteria and administrative offices, but no classrooms on the second floor of the building.

However, the construction of a school holding up to 700 students, with classrooms on the entire second floor, would cost an estimated $15.58 million, they said.

The cost of constructing the first floor and only part of the second floor — an additional six classrooms in the east wing — would cost an estimated $14.4 million.

Superintendent Larry Nybladh said the district could always expand later because the infrastructure will be able to accommodate it, and the “goal all along was to build the school without raising the mill levy.”

“The goal is to spend $15 million or less,” said Business Manager Vicky Schwartz earlier that day.

All of the estimates include a 10 percent contingency cost, or about $1.1 million, but Laffen said that would decline to a final 3 percent as project costs became more refined.

Board President Vicki Ericson noted the budget didn’t include the $762,000 the School Board agreed to spend on buying the land for the new school.

Nybladh said the board recently authorized selling $4 million in bonds, which in part covered the cost of the land and other related costs.

The board was also presented with eight other design alternatives, such as using concrete instead of asphalt in the parking lot for an extra $169,974.

JLG will submit final construction documents to the School Board on Nov. 12, and plan to open bids on the projects on Jan. 30, 2014.

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