Cumberland Times-News

Local News

March 12, 2014

School board OKs base model design for new Allegany

Plan cuts some rooms, auditorium, ballfields

CUMBERLAND — The Allegany County Board of Education unanimously approved a $34.5 million base model design Tuesday for a new Allegany High School on Haystack Mountain.

“We got ourselves a brand new school,” board president Laurie Marchini said immediately following the vote.

The state, which based its contribution on a minimal 115,000-square-foot facility for 719 students, has committed to funding $27 million for the new Allegany. The state contribution is based on required teaching space.

“The state is offering $27 million. If we don’t use it, someone else will,” said Mike Llewellyn, board member.

The state contribution is 93 percent of the state’s projected cost. With the state’s contribution being different for each county, Allegany County’s 93 percent is the highest amount the state offers for new school construction.

The base model has nine less classroom spaces, no sports fields or tennis courts and no auditorium.

Although the basic model was approved, the motion also called for the additional items desired by the board to be kept in the design so “if funded they could be added at a future date.”

Associates of Grimm and Parker, the architectural firm designing the new school, were present at the meeting to go over a breakdown of the cost of the various alternative school designs and how they would look.

The original cost proposal for the new Allegany was $36.2 million. After a 144,000-square-foot design was selected by the design committee, the architects retabulated the cost and revised the price tag to $42.3 million.

“No one builds schools at the state minimum level,” said David Cox, superintendent of schools.

“The design is not a Cadillac; it’s a design that meets our educational plan,” said Marchini.

The new cost projection left the board with a shortfall of more than $6 million. The school board asked the architects to present a breakdown of the costs by pricing a base model and then showing the added costs.

The base model had an outdoor amphitheater in place of an auditorium.

The additional items above the base model are: $2 million for the additional three-bay tier of nine classrooms, $3 million for an auditorium and $2.75 million for the football/soccer, baseball and softball fields, track facility and four tennis courts.

“We now know we have a new school coming. We just don’t know what it may look like,” said Nicholas Hadley, board member.

The new school will be bid out to prospective builders, which will be asked to give costs estimates for the base model school and the added features.

School officials will have to search for ways to finance the additional features. The county has committed to contributing $9.2 million to the project.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.

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