The renovations to the former Lawnview School will begin soon with the approval of a Sidney firm to do the construction.
The Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center (ESC) board approved the $374,900 base bid from Westerheide Construction of Sidney on Monday. The renovations were put on hold because the last round of bids came in higher than the estimated costs for the project.
The ESC is leasing the former Lawnview Child and Family Center on South U.S. Route 68 from the Champaign County Commission for its operations. It plans to move all operations from separate facilities into that one location after renovations are completed.
The project includes renovating the inside of the structure to house the preschool and transition classrooms and reconfiguring office space for employees. The ESC hoped to re-carpet parts of the structure and replace ceiling tiles, but the cost will put those renovations on the back burner, ESC Superintendent Dr. Dan Kaffenbarger said. The ESC will also postpone renovations to create a “conference center,” which would serve as the professional development training center. The work can be done at a later date, he said.
Though the re-bidding of the project delayed the timeline a bit, Kaffenbarger said it is not a big delay. The hope is to begin demolition next week and finish the project by May 15. Then the ESC offices will move to the new location, and the preschool will likely move from the former Urbana Local Intermediate school to the Lawnview facility in the summer.
The ESC board also approved a contract extension for Kaffenbarger at its Monday meeting. His contract was extended for two years, beginning Aug. 1, 2016, and ending July 31, 2018. The board previously approved a salary increase for Kaffenbarger, and that was included in the contract extension.
“There are no conditions or changes in the current contract,” he said. “It’s the same contract they gave me two years ago. The only difference would be a bump in the pay.”
Kaffenbarger previously retired as Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools’ superintendent and as ESC superintendent. The ESC rehired the retired Kaffenbarger in August 2014. Kaffenbarger’s pay went from $77,328 to $80,000 for a 156-day contract, the ESC board decided at a previous meeting.
Kaffenbarger said he does plan to fully retire, but the ESC board felt the contract needed to be extended while the ESC worked through the building renovation and some staffing changes.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.