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Archive for Tuesday, July 23, 2002

$91 million price tag put on repairs

July 23, 2002

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The Lawrence school district would have to spend $90.8 million to eliminate all deficiencies in its elementary and junior high school buildings.

That's one of the findings from DLR Group, an Overland Park consulting firm hired by the school board to conduct an analysis of district facilities. The group is scheduled to present a report today to the board outlining cost implications of bringing 18 elementary schools and four junior highs into perfect working order.

"It's a huge dose of reality," said board president Scott Morgan.

The board hired DLR to prepare a facilities master plan for the district. That plan would guide development of a bond issue to finance school renovation and construction. The district aims to have the issue on the ballot in November.

During today's study session, DLR staff will present detailed evaluations of each school building. Comparisons of the buildings and the board's vision of what each school in the district ought to be capable of doing for children will be discussed.

To close the gap between reality and dream, according to DLR Group's study, the district would spend $57.4 million on elementary schools and $33.4 million on junior highs.

Morgan said the district had no intention of spending that much on new classrooms, cafeterias, laboratories, offices or other changes.

"We start now weighing costs and ideals," he said. One way to reduce the expense of a school improvement plan would be to consolidate elementary schools.

Morgan said a series of public meetings would be conducted this fall to allow citizens to participate in formulation of the bond issue.

Cost estimates for individual elementary schools ranged from $1 million at Sunflower School to $6.2 million at Sunset Hill School. Among junior highs, totals ranged from $3.7 million at Southwest Junior High School to $17.3 million at South Junior High School.

Estimates take into account $1 million in shortcomings under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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