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Tennis court bids come in over budget, board to discuss options

Construction of middle/high school tennis courts to be delayed

August 26, 2016

Because the bids for construction work came in significantly higher than the money earmarked for it in the $650,000 tennis court proposition approved by voters on May 20, 2015, the Monticello Central School District and Board of Education will now review their options and the start of the project will be delayed.

The district bid the project twice and each time, all bids the district received for construction-related work – general contracting, mechanical, and site work – came in over the construction costs estimated by the architect, Savin Engineers.

Drawings and specifications for the renovation plans were submitted to the New York State Education Department (SED) for review last December. The district received SED approval on June 16 and put out a request for bids that same week. When the bids came in too high on July 7, the district sent out another request, to no avail.

Administrators continue to investigate what led to the gap between the costs estimated by the architect and the contractors’ bids, but they believe at least two factors contributed: a long wait for approval of the plan’s designs and specifications from the New York State Department of Education, due to a backlog of requests and an understaffed planning and facilities division; and an upturn in the economy that led to a high demand for contractors for local projects, such as the Montreign Casino Resort and Tappan Zee Bridge Project.

“The combined cost of the bids came in from 25 to 113 percent higher than we expected, so we must postpone so the board of education can assess its options,” Assistant Superintendent for Business Lisa Failla said.

The board’s options include: 1) reducing the scope, or the breadth of work to be undertaken in the project; or 2) presenting another referendum to the community, asking for additional funding to support the project as planned. (By law, the district cannot spend more on the project than the total dollar amount approved by voters.)

Regardless of which path the board takes, given the nature of the renovations, construction will not be possible before the 2016 fall tennis season. However, the district recently repaired cracks at the DeHoyos Park tennis courts, to ensure athletes a smoother, safer playing surface.

The Monticello Board of Education is presently searching for a new architectural firm to identify ways to shore up costs and see the tennis court project through to completion.

Board members plan to discuss the status of the project at its Sept. 15 board meeting at 7 p.m. in the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School Library. Board agendas are made available online two days prior to a meeting via BoardDocs.