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Greenfield High School concession stand's high cost prompts review

Nov. 20, 2012

Greenfield - The Greenfield School District will investigate how the costs got so high for a new concession stand at Greenfield High School.

Doubts expressed by some Greenfield residents, piled on top of doubts of some Greenfield School Board members, about whether the district paid too much for the concession stand triggered that decision by the board Monday.

School Board President Bruce Bailey said people have told him the cost of the concession stand seems excessive.

The cost, and possible reasons

The 12-by-12-foot structure cost $68,000. It was built as part of a massive update of the high school that was paid for with $48.5 million in funds approved in referendums in 2007 and 2008.

Making the concession stand deceptively expensive was that it was built with oversize plumbing and piping and electrical hookups in case the district eventually installed restrooms, said Michael Datza, buildings and grounds supervisor.

The water had to be run the entire length of the parking lot to get to the concessions building, Datza said.

Board member Cathy Walsh noted that aspect of the project accounted for $18,000, still leaving construction costs at $50,600, which seemed high.

A look at the process

The board isn't expecting a refund, but if the process of approving spending was flawed, it needs to be fixed, Walsh said.

She noted that the board received monthly reports from its general contractor CG Schmidt Inc. during the first stage of the extensive high school work. But when the bulk of that work had been completed and there was money left over, those monthly reports fell off, Walsh noted.

Superintendent Conrad Farner said the construction team of contractors and administrators evaluated what smaller projects still could be done with the leftover funds.

Farner said the general contractor bid out all the projects to get the best prices.

Although it bid out projects, CG Schmidt itself won several of those bid contracts. Walsh said that happens in other school districts, too, but wants to double check how the bids were handled.

CG Schmidt will be invited to a future school board meeting to help go over the process and answer other questions about project funding.

One of the things Bailey said he wants the review to determine is whether the district got too comfortable working with CG Schmidt and wasn't as watchful as it should have been over dollars.

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