MT. VERNON — Project consultants are advising Mt. Vernon Township High School to eliminate the football field from the new school's construction plans to cut costs.
In addition, consultants say the district should only build the shell of the theater at this time since there is not enough money to finish the facility.
Both of these changes would reduce the overall cost of the project by more than $2.5 million.
There would be space available for the full theater and the football field to be added later. However, funding would have to be raised to complete them.
“To get to budget, I don't see how we can fit out the stadium the way that we want to,” said Adam Knoebel, a vice president for the McCarthy firm. “So right now included in this (recommendation) is eliminating the grandstand, the lights and the sound.”
The football field and theater measures were just a few of the many recommendations to come out of a special meeting Tuesday of the MVTHS Board of Education.
Representatives of McCarthy and FGM Architects were on hand for the meeting, and they presented the board with an estimated $9 million in cost reductions to bring the new school project under-budget.
The MVTHS Board did not vote on these changes Tuesday, but may do so at another special meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday.
John Ochoa, president of FGM, made some introductory remarks at Tuesday's session, explaining how the new recommendations were agreed upon by FGM and McCarthy.
“I want to assure you that both FGM and McCarthy Construction are wholly committed to trying to provide a path forward for the school board,” Ochoa said.
In December, construction bids for the new school came in at more than $6 million over-budget. The addition of an auxiliary gym to the plans then added another $1.4 million or so to the cost over-run.
Since that time, district officials have proposed roughly $4 million in cost reductions to help bring the project closer to budget.
The $9 million in proposed cuts that were delivered Tuesday included a wide variety of items.
A proposed restructuring of the gym facility sparked a great deal of debate.
The current recommendation is to combine the main gym and the auxiliary gym and to make the building one story. This would eliminate the stairs and elevators.
Consultants also talked about reducing the number of PE lockers, as well as making other changes to the gym.
Other cost-cutting measures being considered include the elimination of several classrooms, the shrinking of the front entrance drive, changes to the Career Technical Education layout and more.