At its monthly meeting last Thursday, the Eureka Springs School Board heard Superintendent Curtis Turner recommend releasing to Kinco Constructors $431,850, or 5 percent of the 10 percent retainage the board is holding until the completion of the new high school.
Typically in a large construction project, 10 percent of the contract cost is withheld until the project is completed in compliance with all regulations and to the purchaser's satisfaction. According to Laura Morrison of Morrison Architecture, typically 5 percent is released when the job is 50 percent complete.
"You do not have to do this," Turner told the board. "You can withhold the full 10 percent, and with some contractors I would recommend this, but this one I do not."
Project manager Charlie Morrison of Morrison Architecture explained the retainage gives the board some leverage if something needs to be redone or has not been done.
Apparently, that has occurred.
"We've had some issues on subcontractors," Charlie said. "I would recommend keeping the full 10 percent on some of the subcontractors."
He recommended making a list of those, and Laura said the construction is broken down into line items on every part of the job.
Even with a full 5-percent release to Kinco, Charlie said the remaining 5 percent will cover anything "left over."
"It's just a couple small things we need to deal with and make sure some things are done," he said.
Laura added the issues in question were a normal part of the construction process and nothing detrimental to the new school. She said the district has a one-year warranty on construction, and at 11 months a walk-through is done to make sure everything is working properly or can be repaired if it is not.
One of the jobs for which the full retainage will be withheld is retaining walls at the bottom of the steep slope ending at Lake Lucerne Road. Turner said after the meeting that there was water damage. He was not sure of the exact figure, but said the subcontractor's cost was around $60,000 for the work.
"They have guaranteed to fix it," he said and added he would have the Morrisons look at it.
The board approved releasing the 5-percent retainage to Kinco.
Turner added an item to the agenda: that of advertising for a maintenance director for the school district. He said he had met with the Facilities Committee, and all had agreed the district needs one. The person in that position would also look at technology needs such as a telephone system and other aspects of building operations.
Outgoing board member Tom Freehling said he thought the district had already decided to get someone to look at the phone system, but Turner said the job would encompass much more.
The board took no vote to create or fund the position, but several nodded their heads when Turner asked for permission to advertise in order to "test the waters" to see who might be interested in it.
He said later he wants to see "if we can find the right person to fill the position, and then I would come back and recommend we fund it."
He commended the maintenance staff of each individual school building and said they do a good job, but "We're looking at a lot more square footage (with the new high school). It should be maintenance-free, but it's also very high-tech, and we have to be schooled just on the operation of the building."
One of the things driving the position request was further outlined in an update by Laura Morrison on the new high school.
She said Morrison's and Kinco's part of the work is a month away from completion, and what is left are things the district contracted itself, such as furniture, HVAC, technology, security, bleachers, lockers, etc. She said the new facilities manager will get all the manuals, must be available when Kinco is ready to finish and must be ready to take over managing the remaining tasks.
"You saved a lot of money by contracting these things yourself, but you need someone to be on site," she said. She added Kinco manager Lodie Dixon had been handling all of it for the school so far, even things that were not in Kinco's contract package.
She said all the subcontractors know where Dixon is at all times, and he keeps a close eye on everything. She cautioned that someone else will need to take over that watchfulness and make sure the remaining tasks are completed and done right.
The high school is on target to open in January.
"There's a lot of work to do to get ready to start school Jan. 3," Turner said.
* Approved the final 2011-12 actual budget and the 2012-13 proposed budget.
* Approved the personnel policies, which have changed but will be revised by next spring.
* Approved, without an executive session, accepting the resignation of food service worker Marjorie Scruggs and placing Gary Andrews on a salary contract for the 21st Century Program.
* Heard Turner say he had removed the discussion of the district phone and security systems from the agenda, as these items are still out for bid and information is incomplete.
* Heard there are more than 100 students enrolled in the 21st Century Program, with a daily attendance of 55 and funding for 80.
* Heard enrollment is up and is current at 657 for all three schools.