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SAU office renovations exceed budget


May 05, 2010
The School District Administration can expect to move into the SAU office, currently under renovations, this June, with required life safety and building codes that bump the price to $50,000 over budget.

Renovations on the new SAU Office housed in the old library on Belknap Road were set to be done this May, but the administration is now looking at June 9 or 10, as long as no further delays need to be addressed. The budget is now currently at $139,894, including an additional $4,466 for five different change orders.

The number has climbed on office renovations because when more than 50 percent of a building is renovated, it must comply with current buildings codes, Assistant Superintendent Scott Isabelle said at the School Board meeting Monday night. Plus, anytime an existing building is renovated, it must meet current life safety and building code requirements.

"They are now finishing up sheet rock, and a painter is working upstairs. Changes include flooding concerns with the spring rain, and we are optimistic about saving the ceiling grid; we didn't realize other damage was done (prior to renovations)," said Isabelle. "We are using carpet upstairs to muffle noise, and as we tore up the walls, we realized we needed new wiring."

Additional costs and changes under carpentry include $850 for a sump pump pit, $2,200 for a ceiling grid and $503 for carpeting the upper floor. Plumbing elements will include $540 for installing the sump pump, and for electrical purposes wires will be added for wireless capability, and thermostats and outlets will be relocated for a data, faxing, printer, and postage closet at an additional $1,150.

Isabelle said he also wanted to address a platform and stairway being added to the rear second floor of the building to ensure the district meets current life safety and building codes, which require another exit to the building, and a fully covered roof over this stairway.

"The stairway behind the building and I want to stay away from the word fire escape is really the biggest topic of conversation. Otherwise, we have kept the integrity of the building," said Isabelle.

He said the goal to preserve historic elements of the building while still meeting current codes.

School Board member Derek Tomlinson said he drove by the SAU Office during its renovations and described the staircase as "tasteful" in its final stages. Isabelle agreed that the finished product wouldn't look unsightly despite its appearance in its first stages of construction.

Although Isabelle said the School District is $50,000 over budget, School Board Chair Kurt Weber added that the cost on the taxpayers will still remain within the same ballpark since the state is now picking up 40 percent of the cost.

Isabelle said this budget shows preliminary costs, and a final budget will be presented to the board when renovations conclude. As of now, taxpayers are still expected to pay in the range of $80,000-$90,000 for renovations on the newly established SAU Office.

Before construction began, Isabelle said he and Tim Bartlett were careful to share their plans with the building inspector, the fire inspector, the Gilford Planning Board, the Gilford Historic District and Heritage Commission, and the Gilford Historical Society, and no one opposed the plan.

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