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Published: Wednesday, 4/20/2005

Otsego wants to trim $1.6M from building

TONTOGANY - Otsego school officials are working to cut construction costs for the district's new building by about $1.6 million after receiving bids that were higher than expected.

The district received bids last week on a 92,000-square-foot building, which was budgeted to cost $14.6 million. It will connect to the high school to form a combined junior high/high school facility.

At a school board meeting last night, officials said the lowest general contracting bid was about 7 percent higher than the estimated cost.

Architect Brad Garmann said to afford all the alternates in the bid package, which include four classrooms, an auditorium, a weight room, and an area for the agriculture sciences program, the district will have to trim the budget for the new building.

"We'll get our numbers to where they need to be to include all our alternates," he said.

School administrators and Mr. Garmann are scheduled to meet today with several contractors who put in bids to get ideas about parts of the project that could be eliminated.

Mr. Garmann said he already has prepared a preliminary list of possible cuts, which include decorative items like canopies over the building entrances.

"These were nice to have if we could afford them, but not absolutely necessary for the educational functioning of the building," Mr. Garmann said.

The school board will set a special meeting in the next few weeks to review possible cuts. The district is hoping to award bids soon and remain on schedule to begin construction in June.

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