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Platteville school project bids over budget after extras added
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Anyone who has built a house knows that sometimes plans have to be pared back if what you’d like to build — or what you’d like to add on to the house once its basic design is set — costs more than you can afford.

That is the position Platteville Public Schools is in after the first round of construction bids on the $16.6 million school building project.

The reason is in part because solicited bids were for more work than originally planned by the school district, including renovating existing sections of Westview Elementary School and the Platteville Middle School gym locker rooms. Another reason is estimates that construction costs are increasing 0.5 percent per month.

“We don’t have any intention of going over” the $15 million the school district is borrowing for the project, said PPS superintendent Connie Valenza. “We do believe we will accomplish the majority of what we set out to accomplish for the money we have. … There will be choices that need to be made that some people will not be excited about.”

The project includes a two-story addition and new gymnasium at Westview Elementary School, plus improvements to the science areas at Platteville Middle School and Platteville High School, reconfiguring classrooms at Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center, and improving security at all four schools’ entrances.

One change that is likely to be made with the initial drawings is keeping the Platteville High School office where it presently is. Moving the office, as was contemplated as part of improving building security, “got a little beyond of our intent” of improving safety, said Valenza.

Work continues on design of the Westview kitchen and other areas, plus PMS and PHS science areas, and ventilation in non-air conditioned parts of buildings.

The next set of bids due Nov. 12 will be for mechanical, electrical and plumbing work.

Borrowing costs will be lower than originally projected thanks to low interest rates, which will allow the project to be paid off two years earlier. Voters approved the referendum April 7.

Valenza said the project continues to be on target for the 2016–17 school year if the winter is relatively mild.