(Corning) – Rising costs are forcing Southwest Valley school officials to delay a facility renovation project.
Earlier this week, the Corning School Board rejected a bid to install a new boiler and heating-air-conditioning system at the Southwest Valley Activity Center. Chris Fenster is superintendent of the Corning and Villisca school districts. Fenster told KMA News that exorbitant labor costs forced the bid to be rejected.
“When we opened the bids and got an offer,” Fenster said, “and it was $675,000 for the offer, and that was about 254% above what we were hoping for. , my recommendation to the board was to reject the offers.. They accepted that and voted to reject the offers. We are just going to reopen it in November.
Fenster says the council was reluctant to pay up to $275,000 in labor costs.
“I know the market is volatile right now,” he said, “and it’s hard to find labor and some parts there, but it was way too high for us. I couldn’t take it to the taxpayers and say, ‘we’re going to pay $675,000 out of our ESSER funds, and we’ll have to use SAVE funds, just for the labor part of installing this project.’ “
Although the board approved a separate bid for the boiler and HVAC parts, Fenster said school officials would warehouse those materials.
“We will store them on campus when they arrive,” he said. “We’ll just have to wait until we have a more reasonable offer for the labor part.”
Fenster says the existing boiler is still operating in the more than three-decade-old facility, and the actual facility can wait until summer 2023.