Modernization will occur at school |

Modernization will occur at school

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Plans for a summer modernization project at South Tahoe High School received the green light from the school board in a unanimous vote Wednesday morning.

It was uncertain if the remodeling would go through after the project’s cheapest bid, made by Thompson Pacific at $5.4 million, came in a million dollars higher than the architect’s bid made in January.

Steve Morales, facilities director for Lake Tahoe Unified School District, spent several days examining the project and finding available money after the LTUSD Board of Education received the news about the million dollar discrepancy at an April 23 board meeting.

Morales added $125,000 in contributions and $100,000 from the deferred maintenance fund to the $6.7 million in available bond money. More than $70,000 in project savings include the postponement of installing metal roof panels as well as Thompson Pacific’s providing $25,000 to the construction.

With various fees and other miscellaneous items, the estimated cost of the modernization will be a little less than $6 million.

However, the original electrical subcontractor was released because the district was uncomfortable with the track record of the company. The district hired the electrical subcontractor with the second lowest bid. The decision added an additional $180,000.

Modernization plans were in jeopardy because of concerns about the price of the project exceeding the bid.

“We’re in a climate right now where not a penny can be used from the general fund,” said board member Sue Yang. “We’d be signing in blood.”

To partly address those concerns, Peter Thompson, owner of Thompson Pacific, faxed a letter to the board.

“We believe the contingency of $250,000 is more than adequate for this project,” Thompson wrote. “We have had discussions with all of our key subcontractors of which they have indicated that the drawings are well designed and they do not anticipate any major changes.”

“Is that as close as we can get to blood?” Yang joked.

About $810,000, including a $258,000 contingency, is left over for available funds. A $205,000 seismic retrofit for Meyers Elementary School also will be done over the summer.

-Contact William Ferchland at or (530) 542-8014.

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