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Board to review ‘guaranteed maximum price’ for new schools

Posted: July 10, 2017 4:53 p.m.
Updated: July 11, 2017 1:00 a.m.

The Kershaw County Board of School Trustees will gather tonight for its only regular meeting of July. On the agenda will be consideration of a “guaranteed maximum price” to construct three replacement elementary schools.

When voters approved a $129 million referendum offered by the Kershaw County School District (KCSD) in November to replace or refurbish the county’s aging schools, nearly half of that cost -- an estimated $62.45 million -- was listed to replace Camden, Lugoff and Wateree elementary schools. At the time, they were all to be two-story facilities.

The district originally estimated each school would cost nearly $21 million to build -- Camden, $20.93 million; Lugoff, $20.75; and Wateree, $20.77 million, to be more specific. During periodic updates to the board, the district has revised those estimates, possibly for the better.

During the board’s March 21 meeting, Eddie Rodelsperger, of Pike-McFarland-Hall Consultants, and KCSD Director of Operations Billy Smith reported that a change in building materials -- from steel frames to load-bearing masonry -- had the potential to reduce the overall cost by $3.5 million. Specifically, Camden and Lugoff elementary schools might be able to be built for $1 million less than originally estimated, with Wateree Elementary School potentially costing $1.5 million less to construct.

The goal, Rodelsperger said at the time, was to get the cost of each school down to around $17.5 million each. By the March 21 meeting, he said, the cost had already been reduced to “about $18 million.” Two weeks earlier, at the board’s March 7 meeting, Smith announced that constructing a two-story Wateree Elementary School would not be feasible on the site next to the existing school. It was unclear, however, whether that contributed to a reduction in construction cost.

If the board agrees to the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for each school, it would mean the district would compensate contractors for actual costs incurred, plus a fixed fee, but for no more than the agreed-to maximum. GMP contracts place more risk onto the contractor, rather than the district, but can also lead to shared cost savings, should a project come in under the maximum price.

The GMP discussion will come after a general update on the referenda-approved construction projects.

Tonight’s agenda also includes:

• an opening of school report; 

• a follow-up on the recently completed district-wide, all-employee survey;

• a report on discussions concerning growth funding with the county; and

• a discussion of school resource officer funding.

Trustees will also enter executive session to discuss undisclosed employment matters and a legal matter concerning a contractual agreement with the county. This will mark the third time the possible contract with the county will be discussed in executive session. Trustees took no action following the first two closed-door discussions.

Tonight’s agenda indicates action on the matter is possible following the executive session.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the board room of the KCSD offices at 2029 West DeKalb St. in Camden.

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