Richland County renovation project moves forward after bids come in high

The high costs will be covered by district funds.

Posted: Jan 29, 2020 6:25 PM

RICHLAND COUNTY, Ill. (WTHI) - Large open areas sit vacant after months of demolition at Richland County high school. In just a few weeks those open areas will be the foundation for new structures.

Superintendent Chris Simpson says, "What we're waiting on is some new walls to go up. The activity that's going on behind us right now, they're pouring footing for the area that will be the new north entrance to the building."

Walls will begin going up by the middle of February. Simpson says he is excited to see the building begin to take shape.

Simpson explains, "We think it will have an impact not on just on the perception of our project and what's happening here in our community but also with our staff and with our students."

Walls going up in a matter of weeks is a win for the project. That comes after bids ran high which resulted in renovations costing 3.5 million dollars more than expected.

Simpson says, "Particularly in three main areas they were above those estimates. So in those three areas, it was the mechanical, the electrical, and the plumbing was the areas that primarily over budget."

For years Simpson says they have been building up a pad of district funds in anticipation of the renovation project. The school board has approved moving those some of those funds to offset the cost. All to make sure they provide better security, more accessibility, and a modern classroom.

Simpson says, "We're still confident in our ability to do that, even though we've had some of these challenges with the budget. But without the ability to contribute some of our own district funds we think we're going to be able to accomplish those goals."

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