School project costs climb

By John L. Braese

The Enterprise

Higher construction costs are forcing Nyssa and Vale school districts to modify plans for new middle schools to keep in budget.

Both districts are looking at blueprints and making the tough decisions on what to leave out of the new buildings.

Nyssa voters approved a bond for a new middle school in May. Vale voters did the same in November.

Rising costs were no surprise to Adrian school officials, who are under construction already on a new gym.

Adrian voters supported a bond for the gym, but costs came in $200,000 higher. Because of an anonymous donor, crews are today on the site and plans are in place for the new facility to open in the fall.

Plans for the new Vale Middle School look good, according to Vale Superintendent Scott Linenberger.

“We are looking at blueprints and deciding what is needed,” said Linenberger.

The district is moving $500,000 into reserve that was intended for other school projects. The reserve will pay for unanticipated costs of the new school.

Vale voters will begin to see action on other school improvement projects as soon as the students leave the classroom.

“We are in the process of obtaining bids for roofing on the schools in the district,” Linenberger said. “That is our main priority currently. We will then look at the projects dealing with safety and security in the schools.”

Linenberger has met with the public and educators obtaining ideas on the new middle school.

The new Nyssa Middle School is a few months ahead of Vale as the bond was passed last May.

“We are having to rework our plans because several of the areas were bid higher than expected,” said Nyssa Superintendent Jana Iverson.

In a meeting Monday, the committee overseeing construction looked at a number of items.

“We are making some minor modifications and talking to some of the contractors to see where costs can be cut,” said Luke Cleaver, middle school principal.

Cleaver said the size of the new school won’t change.

“We are basically looking at needs versus wants right now,” said Cleaver. “We may make some changes to some landscaping and things like that.”

The good news for students in Nyssa is the doors are expected to open on schedule the first day of school in 2018.

“We are proceeding as planned as far as the time frame goes,” said Inverson. “We have completed the first round of value engineering which has saved $800,000.”

Have a news tip? Email new@malheurenterprise or call John L. Braese at 541-473-3377.