Child center project delayed by budget | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Child center project delayed by budget

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A plan to construct a 3,000-square-foot addition at Lake Tahoe Community College was temporarily shelved this week in part because of state budget constraints.

The project now on hold was expected to begin construction this spring. It will expand the college’s Child Development Center and allow a nursery school to adjoin it.

LTCC received bids on the project earlier this month; the lowest came in at $694,000, about $300,000 more than expected.

“We rejected all the bids for two reasons,” said Jon Stephens, vice president of business services at the college. “The bids were higher than projected and greater than our budget. With the tight state budget, we don’t want to commit ourselves and confine ourselves.”

Now, the earliest that work on the addition can begin is late this summer. But that can happen only if state architects and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency sign off quickly on a redesign, Stephens said.

Because of the high cost of the bids, an architectural firm has been hired to simplify the design of the structure in hopes of lowering the construction price. The new design is also expected to save a 34-inch wide Jeffrey pine tree that would have been cut down as part of the original plans.

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The TRPA will probably favor the change because it saves a tree, but review by state architects could take longer because buildings in the basin have to consider snowloads, Stephens said.

More than half the cost of the project will be funded by tobacco lawsuit money by way of a grant from El Dorado County. The rest of the money is expected to come from the LTCC budget.

“We’re making tough decisions,” said Stephens, because of cutbacks made to the state budget. “We’ve reduced our instruction offered by 106 sections,” and it would not make sense “to turn around and build a building with a budget greater than we thought.”

The addition, which will be home to the Tahoe Parents Nursery School, will also include more than 1,000 square-feet of new walkway outside the Child Development Center. The nursery school became part of the college’s curriculum 2 years ago.

The nursery school, which allows LTCC students the opportunity to work with children who are 3 to 5 years old, is based today at Meyers Elementary School. Having the nursery school adjoin the Child Development Center will create “synergy and have a greater effect for both programs,” Stephens said.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com

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