Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 25, 2013

Verity construction bids lower than expected

Mike James
CNHI News Service

ASHLAND — Bids to renovate Verity Middle School came in considerably lower than originally expected, meaning the district probably will be able to afford some other projects, Superintendent Steve Gilmore.

The low bid amount of just under $12 million was significantly less than the $12.3 million architects had anticipated, and far below the $14 million originally projected, Gilmore said.

Work probably will begin by the end of August on third-floor classroom renovations and construction of a new gymnasium on the current faculty parking lot site.

Workers already have started preparing the third floor for the renovations, Gilmore said.

Once the new gym is complete work will begin on converting the existing gym into a sixth-grade center.

The renovation is expected to take two years and when it is finished, sixth-graders will move there from the district’s elementaries. The sixth- through eighth-grade setup is considered the standard for modern middle schools.

The target for adding sixth grade is the 2016 school year.

“We’re excited about what’s going to happen at Verity,” principal David Greene said. “I’m encouraged to see the process moving forward.”

During construction, temporary classrooms will be set up in the auditorium, and as work continues, students will move into classrooms as they are completed so work can start in other areas.

The sixth-grade academy will keep students in that grade mostly separate from higher grades and will include a separate entrance.

The lower than expected bids mean the district probably will be able to afford to complete its renovation of Paul Blazer High School, Gilmore said. Buildings 2 and 3 of the multi-building campus are slated for a makeover with new heating and air conditioning systems, lights and energy-saving windows.

There also may be money to add some additional upgrades to the Verity project, Gilmore said.

The school board will meet next week to choose a contractor, he said.

MIKEā€ˆJAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2652.