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Jeremy Gaston/Herald-Chronicle

Jeremy Gaston | Managing Editor

OSAGE CITY—Just as workers were approaching the final days of installing the new field in Jones Park, the skies opened up and ceased progress, with less than half the sod installed.

“The rain has delayed what remained of the sodding until it’s dry enough to get equipment out there,” said USD 420 Superintendent Troy Hutton. “Lights will go up as soon as they can get equipment in there without getting stuck.”

The much needed rain was unwanted at the track and field complex, where sod was scheduled to be completed over three days leading up to the July 27 deadline, and lights were set to go up Monday. About a third of the sod was completed Thursday before showers and storms rolled in.

“I’m not sure what impact that’s going to have at this point,” Hutton said. “If we can get the sod down this week, maybe we’ll still be fine.”

Architects and the construction manager met with the USD 420 Board of Education at a special meeting July 24. Kenton Cox and Gary Hollar, Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, presented alternate plans for the new gym and shelter, along with an alternate design for the community building addition.

Hollar showed the board revised plans for the gym/shelter, with storage and a foyer removed from the connecting link.

“What we came up with is a more scaled down version, taking off things we discussed at last meeting,” Hollar said.

McPherson Construction estimated the most recent version at $1,781,410.

“I know our goal was 1.7 million, I just don’t think we can get any lower than this,” Cox said. “Our recommendation is to approve this. We’ll get the drawing, get bids and see where we’re at.”

Hollar and Cox also presented an alternate plan for the community building, which places the restrooms inside the existing structure and adding an addition for the kitchen and concessions.

“The current kitchen is 294 square feet,” Cox said. “The new one would be 600 square feet.”

The new design saves an estimated $48,000 by building a single extension, opposed to the previous plan that had additions for the kitchen and restrooms, bringing the estimate to $309,000. The alternate also addresses existing sewer problems at the community building.

Board member Mike Pitts informed the council that his employer, RCIL, has offered to donate a range hood for the kitchen.

Cox reviewed the overall budget, noting the $4,074,937 already spent on the elementary renovations and field construction, along with the current estimates for the gym and community building. With the tight budget, Cox also offered to reduce his firms fee from seven to six percent of the project total.

“It doesn’t help everywhere, but it does help a little bit,” Cox said. “I assume no one will object to that.”

The board ended the special meeting with a tour of elementary renovations. As of July 27, many classrooms are now painted and the storage units are installed, with carpet and drop ceilings remaining to be installed.

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