The hunt is still on for $14 million for the proposed new school complex.
The announcement last week that the Grand Coulee Dam School District is getting $17 million from the the state Legislature to build new schools isn’t the end of the effort, but another beginning.
When the K-12 school complex was planned, the estimated cost was $46 million.
The $17 million approved in the state’s capital budget last week, added to $14 million the district already had is “enough to build the educational portion of the project,” district Superintendent Dennis Carlson stated Monday.
Carlson is continuing the push for the additional funds to complete the complex.
Speaking to the Rotary Club and to school district employees in a general meeting Wednesday at the middle school, Carlson said it’s time for the federal government to contribute to the effort.
He said the state has covered its share of the obligation.
“It’s time for the federal government, as a partner in our community, to step up,” he said.
School patrons will likely see the demolition ball as the first phase of construction about the time school is out this year.
The district plans to put together the specifications for the demolition of Wright Elementary School as soon as possible so that part of the project can go out for bid before mid-May.
“We will wait to get started with demolition until school is out just for safety reasons,” Carlson stated.
The demolition is made more complex by the fact that special precautions need to be taken because of the use of lead paint and the use of asbestos in the building.
The demolition and site preparation could take most of the summer. It wasn’t clear when actual construction could start, since chief architect Laurence Rose of Design West was on vacation this week.
However, Rose had stated earlier that his firm planned to move a construction trailer here very soon so architects could begin their finish work.
Carlson said that district efforts to get some federal funds for the project will continue. Carlson and other officials have been in touch with Bonneville Power Administration and met with Bureau of Reclamation officials to state the district’s case.
The $31-32 million dollars already designated at the state level for the project is enough to do the basic education package, but not enough for ball fields and other complex needs.
The district received word that the $17 million was part of the state budget approved in the early morning hours April 11.
The earlier $14 million was set aside at the state level as a result of work done by State Sen. Linda Evans Parlette (R ) Wenatchee two years ago.