One thing was made perfectly clear at Monday night's regular School of the Osage board meeting: The Heritage Building renovation and expansion project is on schedule to be completed in time for the 2014-15 school year.
School and construction officials said there are incorrect rumors circulating that the project won't be finished until the 2015-16 school year. That isn't so, Assistant Superintendent Tony Hermann said. Not only is the project on schedule, it's on budget.
"We're absolutely on schedule," Hermann said. "There are rumors we're behind schedule. We'll be in by the fall of 2014."
The renovation and expansion are part of a $22 million bond issue approved by School of the Osage voters last April. School and construction officials were quick to get started, and a detailed update is provided to the board each month.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held in late May, and construction began Monday, June 3.
Hermann, who is overseeing the project for the school, said bids came in at $21.4 million. There have been several change orders approved by the board in the first five months of work, but the scope of the project has not changed, he told the board.
"Everything you promised to the public, we're delivering," Hermann said.
Once completed, the Heritage building will be the new home of students in grades Pre-K-2, who are now attending school at the Leland O. Mills School. There will be administrative offices in the renovated Heritage Building as well.
Hermann said the parking lot at the Heritage Building should be completed in the next two weeks, but will not open to public traffic for several months as school personal, construction and commercial vehicles will to use the space as work continues. Many staff members at Mills Elementary have used the Christ the King and Lake Ozark Christian Church parking lots the past several months.
Hermann said the churches, the city of Lake Ozark and the Lake Ozark Police Department have been cooperative during the transition.
Also included in the bond issue were upgrades at the high school and security improvements at the Upper Elementary. Hermann said those two items are the "unknowns" in how the remainder of the bond issue will play out as far as cost and timing.
"We're on budget, but it's going to be tight," he told the board.
The board approved several change orders Monday night, including:
•Saved several thousand dollars by exchanging the slate roof for a high quality, durable architectural shingle.
•Re-routed several drainage problems.
•Received a credit for already having in place a contemporary lighting system in part of the building.
Page 2 of 2 - •Made changes to several safety aspects to meet Lake Ozark Fire Department code.
•Saved several thousands of dollars by changing the way several block walls will be resurfaced.
•Decided to install permanent windows on the second floor to avoid potential safety issues for students, and to save money.
Hermann said the board each month will receive a detailed report on construction progress and where spending is in relation to the total bid. Board members will have all of the information they need to help keep the public informed.