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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Concerns voiced about facilities project delays

Rachel Brophy
Posted 9/28/22

ELY- The Sept. 26 meeting of the Ely school board held here on Monday night began by adding two agenda items addressing additional cost overruns as part of the scheduled 21st Century Facility Project …

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Concerns voiced about facilities project delays


ELY- The Sept. 26 meeting of the Ely school board held here on Monday night began by adding two agenda items addressing additional cost overruns as part of the scheduled 21st Century Facility Project update given by Kraus Anderson senior project managers Patrick Gallagher and Todd Erickson.
Erickson explained that the added amendments both pertained to additional costs caused by construction delays due to the ledge rock found while the project was underway. Together, the extra cost related to the rock and additional site utilities, and for adding Bid Package Four, totaled $215,492, he said.
Board member Tony Colarich asked, “So I understand this fully and to make it really simple, how far in the red are we?”
Erickson and Gallagher further explained the expense breakdowns, with Erickson stating, “I would say you’re at $550,000.”
Washington Elementary Principal Anne Oelke expressed concern about projects, such as the locker rooms, that are yet to be completed.
“Are we going to get additional monthly fees for October, November, December until the locker rooms are done?”
Erickson said, “We kind of capped this.” He explained that the additional items covered the month of September and a half month into October.
Gallagher began the overall project update by thanking everyone for their efforts getting the school opened for the year.
“I’m looking around the table here because a lot of you have worked hard to get the school set up in record time while we were finishing up construction. Awesome job! It was a great team effort, and we thank you for that,” he said.
Erickson added, “As Patrick says, beautiful project. I really like how the landscaping is coming together out there. There’ve been a lot of positive comments.”
Erickson then directed the board to look at a handout which featured pictures taken Sept. 22. “We need the concrete people to come back and finish,” he said. “We have two days left of concrete work to go, and there have been some issues with cement shortages.” Gallagher noted, “This is the second time this has hit us. There’s a cement shortage nationwide. It’s not a good thing. We wanted to have this done last week, but we’re working with them, and we’ve prioritized the concrete. We’re so close.”
Erickson went on to discuss the varying numbers for expenditures and the project contingency fund. He explained that as some actual costs came in below projections, the contingency funds actually grew as the remaining monies were added back in.
“As noted in the red, we’ve documented, approved and spent $755,000 of contingency, and we’re currently showing that we have $630, 823 that’s estimated and pending. With all that we’re currently showing a negative amount in the contingency of $30,387. As noted, some of these items we earmarked a little bit more than we needed, so in a project of this magnitude, I really don’t think that’s a big issue.”
Gallagher added, “Bottom line, we’re basically 100-percent spent, but we’re not sitting in the hole deep, and we’re not sitting with surplus on the main project.”
In other business the board:
• Heard from student council representative Madison Rohr regarding plans for Homecoming. Homecoming week will be Oct. 3-7 with the dance to be held on Saturday, Oct. 8. The Student Council is also requesting to have a Homecoming parade on Friday, Oct. 7 at 1:30 p.m. Rohr reported that there will also be various community service events held that morning. She said the Junior class is planning the homecoming dance which will be held in the new elementary gym.
Heard from Superintendent John Klarich that he will be attending the County Board of Commissioners meeting in Wright on Tuesday Sept. 27 with hopes of being awarded funds from the American Rescue Act application submitted earlier this year.
• Approved accepting a donation from Cleveland Cliffs via Ely Educational Foundation.
Heard report from Athletic Director Tom Coombe regarding the use of the new gym and an update on progress with the new scoreboard.
• Klarich noted that the Truth in Taxation meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec 12.
The next meeting of the Ely School Board will be Monday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m.


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