BEDFORD AREA LOGO

The Bedford Area School District will accep bids for its proposed renovation project, which is expected to cost about $43 million.

The school board, at its meeting Tuesday, approved a motion to put the project out to bid and to submit plans for the work at the high school and elementary school to the state Department of Education as part of its PlanCON reimbursement process.

The board voted 8-1 to take the next step forward with the project, with board member Jeremy Oldham voting against it.

Superintendent Dr. Allen Sell said the motion authorizes the district to put both the high school and elementary school improvements out to bid.

The board will have until June 30 to approve intent to award contracts, but Sell said bids should be in well before that deadline.

”We should have some contracts to review in the spring,” he said.

The bids will be for general contracting duties and multiple sub contracts.

The district is not committed to the project until it awards bids. If the work moves forward, the district is eligible to receive about $3.1 million in state reimbursement through the PlanCon program.

Initial preparations for the project started in 2014 when the district commissioned a feasibility study on its facilities. The school board has been discussing the work for more than a year and hosted a public hearing in November to outline the proposed renovations.

Included in the work at the high school is the construction of a new 17,500-square-foot gym and extensive renovations to the athletic field and its bleachers.

The athletic field would be lowered and moved to address concerns about a deteriorating retaining wall, and the grass field would be replaced with synthetic turf. The bleachers will include a media studio and press box that will also function as two large group instruction spaces.

The new additions also include a new concourse to the back of the building that would create a new entry to the building. The concourse would connect to the bleachers at the athletic field and would extend back to the gym.

A number of changes will be made through the rest of the high school, including renovations to its auditorium, music suite and guidance offices.

Work also will include HVAC, plumbing and electrical upgrades.

The cost of the high school portion of the renovations is expected to be about $40.8 million, while additional HVAC and other improvements at the elementary school will cost about $2.7 million.

The work would raise taxes by an estimated 1.03 mills — done over a three year period — which would increase the district’s debt service by about $1.3 million.

For properties valued at $175,000, the 1 mill increase would increase taxes by about $175 per year.

Contact Will DeShong at wdeshong@bedfordgazette.com; 623-1151, ext. 150.

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