News Column

Davis High School renovation project going over budget; cuts possible

June 8, 2014

By Rafael Guerrero, Yakima Herald-Republic, Wash.



June 08--The Davis High School renovation project could go as much as $1.1 million over budget, which means a wish list of projects, including $1.5 million in enhancements to the performing arts, could go by the wayside.

"The board is trying to wrestle with what are good decisions and how much money will we spend," Superintendent Elaine Beraza said recently.

Project architects and Yakima School District officials will meet this week to weigh their options.

An analysis from Yakima-based Loofburrow Wetch Architects suggests the project could cost from $600,000 to $1.1 million more than projected if the district doesn't cut some items or take other cost-cutting measures.

In addition to performing arts improvements, such as theater seating, an audio-visual system and stage lighting, other wish-list items not currently in the budget include enclosing the sky bridge at a cost of $300,000; classroom remodeling behind the auditorium ($200,000) and storage for instruments and uniforms for band and choir ($80,000).

The $97 million Davis project, set for completion in August 2015, includes a new library, gymnasium, administration offices and courtyard. Parents have contended that performing arts improvements were unfairly cut when bids came in over budget in 2013.

There is some good news, however. The administration/library/classroom building is on track to be ready in August for furniture and supplies. Building B, another classroom building, will be ready in December. And workers will tear down the portable classrooms on the south side of campus this week to start on the new gymnasium.

Meanwhile, promised improvements to Zaepfel Stadium could experience some minor delays, said Beraza. A mid-October end date might be a possibility instead of early October, she said. New facilities for baseball, softball, tennis, and track and field could also see a later completion date because the district hasn't advertised for bids.

The board previously approved moving ahead with a plan to replace the grass football field with artificial turf, install a new running track and provide new lights at the aging stadium, which serves the entire district from its site on the Eisenhower High School campus. A ceiling of $4.5 million was set. Bids have been received and are expected to be discussed at the Friday morning meeting.

Some of the Zaepfel renovations that will start this summer could still be underway during football season, but Beraza said that's something officials are prepared to work around.

"The point is, it needs to get done," said Beraza. "It may be inconvenient this year, but then it will be finished -- short-time pain for long-time gain."

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(c)2014 Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.)

Visit Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.) at www.yakima-herald.com

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Source: Yakima Herald-Republic (WA)


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