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Higher labor costs than expected for Joplin Schools rebuilding - KOAM TV 7

Higher labor costs than expected for Joplin Schools rebuilding

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Updated July 25, 2012 at 11:45 AM CST:  The Joplin school board accepts bids on interior elements at East Middle School, but the construction there is already over budget.

The Joplin Schools superintendent says phases of construction like dirt work and grading for utilities are all bid separately but labor costs were higher than anticipated.

Dirt work and demolition of extra properties is the next contract under negotiation for the high school property where debris was just cleared.

The superintendent says lessons learned from East Middle contracts will be applied at the other sites to trim costs, even if it takes a little redesigning.

Posted July 24, 2012 at 5:55 PM CST:  The Joplin school board plans to accept bids and enter contracts for rebuilding at tonight's board meeting but they're facing a labor market more expensive than officials anticipated.

Tonight the board will be weighing bids from contractors and suppliers.

For East Middle School, it's time to get prices on wood flooring, athletic equipment, casework and a fire sprinkler system.  Dirt is already moving at East Middle where sub contractors are grading the site and prepping it for utilities.

The same kind of work is what the board will choose bids on for the high school and Franklin Technology property.

Debris removal crews are just wrapping up work at the old high school.

But Joplin Schools Superintendent C.J. Huff says they're learning lessons from the contracts for East Middle - finding labor costs in the Joplin area have been higher than initially estimated.

Dr. Huff says they will do some value engineering with all bids but for now East Middle's construction is over budget and they're working to bring costs down.

"We anticipated that was a possibility in the last few weeks as those bids were coming in as some new pricing models were coming in from various suppliers and various contractors in the area," says Dr. Huff.  "We're making good progress - have a ways to go."

Huff says they won't sacrifice quality or square footage but will look for savings elsewhere in design.

Tonight the board president will sign off on the sale of at least $35 million of the $62 million bond issue.

They're only selling half now to save on interest payments until they need to tap the other funds in the construction process.

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