VILONIA — With a $12.1 million base figure in hand, officials in the Vilonia School District will move forward enforcing the plans to build a new intermediate school.
Architect Steve Elliott and Lance Wright, an engineer with Nabholz Construction Services, met with the Vilonia Board of Education Monday night and provided a bid summary and a base bid of $12.1 million to build a new Intermediate School. Originally, it was projected the district’s wish list for the building could reach $15 million. The board began to re-configure, cut and strategize allowing the project to stay under budget. However, on bid day, Elliott said, there were a tremendous number of bidders resulting in “good prices,” better than projected resulting in good news for the district.
“We hit the market perfect,” Elliott said. “People were looking right now for what they wanted to this summer.”
The lower bids resulted in the board, Monday night, adding back some of their previous cuts including curb and gutter, ceramic tile in the bathrooms and a flag pole and adding on a few other additions. Almost an hour of discussion, the board also requested pricing for other projects. It was said they will move forward adding and refiguring until they reach their goal of spending about $13.6 million on the project with $9.6 million being derived from state participation.
Superintendent Frank Mitchell said he is pleased with the bids and the work that has been done on behalf of the district.
“I feel like we are in pretty good shape on this now,” he added. Both Elliott and Wright, he said, have been working diligently to help the district to reach their goal.
“They have worked hard,” he said. “Funny thing is….the harder they work to get us a better price, the less money they are going to make. They work on percentages.”
In other business:
• Approved the Vilonia Ministerial Alliance sponsoring the senior breakfast set for May 3 and baccalaureate set for May 5.
• Approved refinishing the high school, middle school and old gymnasium floors at a cost of $16,677 with Stride Services.
• Teacher Chere’ Beavers provided details regarding the district’s gifted and talented K-12 program. Currently, she said the program serves 238 identified gifted students in grades 3-12. The students are in classrooms for 150 minutes per week. The students are identified through a process of referral from parents, teachers, counselors and community members and testing. The screening committee, Beavers said, do not know the identity of the students during the process.
High school gifted and talented students, she said, have the opportunity to take seven pre-AP courses, 13 AP classes and three concurrent college credit courses. More than 130 AP exams will be given during the spring.
• Wright said the saferoom at the Primary School is proceeding. Footings are being installed now, he said. He anticipates the project to be completed by July.
• The district has received an Arkansas Career Education grant for $58,000 to begin an engineering program, said teacher Joshua Lieblong. The classes, he said, will help the students prepare for college. The curriculum, he said, will include aerospace engineering, civil engineering and architectural engineering. Those components, he anticipates, will be the most advantageous for students. He plans to begin offering it to 11th and 12th graders in the next school year.