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Architect expects construction on planned high school will begin Oct. 15

Written by: Bill Bartleman
The board of education approved the final architectural plans for the McCracken County High School on Thursday, and bid advertising begins Aug. 15.
Mike Smith, lead architect with Sherman-Carter-Barnhart of Lexington, said he’s getting plenty of calls from contractors interested in the project, which should mean bids less than the $56 million estimate.
“We are still in an owner’s market,” Smith told the board. “Some say the economy is turning around, but I haven’t seen an upturn in construction.”
He said a school project bid three months ago was nearly 15 percent below estimates.
Site preparation that began last month is costing $2.2 million, $1 million less than architect estimates. Youngblood Excavating of Mayfield is the contractor.
“This is a very attractive project because it will keep contractors busy for two years,” Smith said. He anticipates bids from Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana and other states.
The state education department also must approve the final plans. Smith expects that to be a formality because the state has approved preliminary plans.
The timetable is to open bids Sept. 15 and to approve a contract the following day. Construction should begin Oct. 15. Completion is expected in June 2012 in time for an August 2012 opening.
The new school will consolidate Reidland, Heath and Lone Oak high schools.
Board member Rick Straub expressed concern about meeting the completion date. Smith told him extra time is built into the deadline.
Bad weather should not cause delays, unless there’s an unusual event, Smith said. “Two years is plenty of time for this project,” Smith said. “We are fortunate to be doing the site preparation work during the driest part of the season.”
Smith said January is traditionally the wettest month. Footings and the building’s other surface work can be completed between October and December, he said.
The contract will include construction and development of a football stadium, a field house, 12 tennis courts, a baseball field, a softball field, a soccer field and concession stands. The football field and baseball infield will have artificial turf.
An amphitheater can be used as an outdoor classroom, for small productions and for students to eat lunch.
The gymnasium will seat 4,000, the football stadium 4,500. The auditorium will have a balcony and seat 750.
The school will have 48 classrooms divided into learning centers, two art rooms, band and choir rooms, eight science labs and a 10,000-square- foot library.
The capacity of the school is 1,600 students.