A group of Pauls Valley school officials agree they need to fill in the funding gaps to keep a trio of upcoming projects just the way they were advertised with local voters.

It was a surprise to be sure when the actual price tag came in higher than expected this week for the future construction of a brand new band building, an agriculture education classroom and renovations to the PV High School gym.

All three were part of a school bond issue passed by voters during an election last year.

Bids for all three zoomed higher than numbers for their projected budgets as all five members of the PV Board of Education and Superintendent Mike Martin agree it's important to keep the integrity of the projects intact despite the additional costs.

Construction manager Michael Barnes of MacHill Construction and architect Tim Elliott, both from Ada, said the bidding process for all three projects at once went well.

The big problem is in the worst case scenario the actual costs of doing the projects could be as much as $600,000 over their budgets, which includes contingency money for each one, according to Elliott.

“Overall the cost is more than we expected,” he said during the Nov. 13 meeting.

Barnes added the bidding process was a bit “tricky” because it involved various specialized work for three separate projects.

Although some cuts can be found to save money Elliott said there likely won't be many as the project plans were already designed to keep the costs down.

“Maybe we can get to within $300,000 of the budget and not change the scope of the projects,” Elliott said.

Martin says help could come from the district's building fund and maybe even the general operating fund for the local schools.

“You're saying we should move forward but not change the scope of the projects or the quality,” Martin asked while talking with board members about the bid costs.

Although all five agreed some cost-saving measures could be taken the most important thing was keep the projects as close as possible to their original plans.

“If we have the funds and make sure everything balances out then we need to proceed,” David Assad said.

“I'm hesitant to cut what we sold to the community.”

“I think we should proceed with all the projects as they are,” said Shelby Humphrey.

The actual bids with contingencies are just over $1.5 million for the band building, over $457,000 for gym renovations and over $400,000 for the ag classroom.

The largest of the bond issue projects, a new elementary school on the west side of Pauls Valley, is moving along at a nice pace, Barnes said.

He estimates the construction of the building to someday house prekindergarten through the third grade is around 50 percent complete.

According to Barnes, the project is broken up into a handful of phases with much of the work moving into the different interior sections of the building.

“It looks like lots has been done, but it typically slows down when you get to the finishing,” Elliott warns when asked about a potential timeline for completion.

During this week's meeting the school board also approved a one-time $500 stipend for all of the district's full-time support employees and certified staff. This same action was also done last year.

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