Education Service Center renovation of former Lawnview School to take longer


The renovation of the former Lawnview School for the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center’s use will be delayed due to bids determined to be too high.

The ESC board rejected all renovation bids at its October meeting. The board authorized its architects, OHM Advisors, to revise the renovation budget and scope of the project so it can be re-bid.

The ESC is leasing the former Lawnview Child and Family Center on South U.S. Route 68 from the Champaign County Commission for $1 a year for 10 years. The release can be renewed. The ESC intends to move its offices and operations, including preschool and low incidence classrooms, to the facility.

ESC Superintendent Dr. Dan Kaffenbarger said the bids for the renovation came in much higher than anticipated, which forced the board to reject them.

“We’re limited in state statute to a 10 percent overage of what was proposed in the budget,” he said. The project estimate was $300,000 to $341,000, and the closest bid that came in was $424,000, he said.

This delays the move to the facility, Kaffenbarger said. The plan had been to begin renovations this month and finish by the end of March, but the delay may push the finish time to mid-May or June.

The cost of the project may increase if OHM cannot trim the scope enough to get the bids into the estimated range. Kaffenbarger said the ESC is paying for half the project with its cash carryover and financing the rest over several years.

The ESC board received a draft capital improvement plan for its Mac-A-Cheek building in Bellefontaine. The building, which the ESC purchased approximately three years ago, was the former Western Elementary. When the school district built new buildings, it sold that building to the ESC for $175,000, Kaffenbarger said. The building needs a number of repairs and improvements, including heating, roofing, structural work and plumbing. The work is estimated to cost $1.5 million, which the draft plan spreads over 10 years.

By Casey S. Elliott

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Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.

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