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Greenfield High School stand offers no concession for its cost

Dec. 21, 2012

Greenfield - Explanations offered by the project general contractor as to why a small concession stand at Greenfield High School cost more than $68,600 didn't satisfy some School Board members this week.

Board members heard that the cost of bringing sewer, water and electrical service to the stand, located far from the school, was the main factor in higher-than-expected price.

Daniel Davis, senior vice president of construction management and general contracting firm CG Schmidt, said that accounted for about $30,000 of the total. In particular, the sewer connection presented special problems, given that the line is 20 feet underground, he explained.

Davis also assured the board that the project was put up for competitive bidding and he feels the district got a good price. He also said the company saved the district $700,000 on the entire high school project, of which the concession stand was a small part.

Too pricey regardless

But the bottom line remained that $68,600 is a lot for a 12-by-16-foot building, School Board President Bruce Bailey said.

"I'm not satisfied with his answers. I think we overpaid on that building," Bailey said.

And if it really costs that much, Bailey said he would not have supported building it.

Board member Rick Moze said he wouldn't either. "That's half a house," he noted in weighing the final price.

Board member Cathy Walsh said she isn't sure she would have supported it, either, but the board didn't get to decide.

"I regret that we didn't have more input," she said.

Process and policy changes?

The concession stand was built as part of the massive $48.5 million high school renovation project approved in referendums in 2007 and 2008. The concession stand was on the project plans from the beginning, Davis said, but it was only built because projects of higher priority were finished and there was enough money left over.

CG Schmidt and administrators met regularly as a team to fit in whatever projects could be done with the funds left after the major work was done, Superintendent Conrad Farner said.

Maybe a School Board member should be on such teams in the future, Walsh suggested. She will ask the Business Administration Committee to look into that and into the district's purchasing policies to see if the board is giving too much latitude.

"I've been comparing purchasing policies with other districts and they have more guidelines than we do," she said.

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