Salisbury storm shelter project continues after costs reduced

Salisburyâ??s school superintendent told KRCG Tuesday his school district had awarded bids for a community storm shelter despite the project going over budget.

Superintendent Todd Willhite said the Salisbury R-IV School District awarded bids for almost all aspects of the project at its Monday night meeting after contractors were able to significantly reduce costs. Salisbury officials had expected the project to cost at most $4.1 million, but when officials reviewed the bids on June 27th they found the lowest bid came in at $5.4 million, a cost overrun of about $1.3 million.

The project involves building a new gymnasium between Salisbury High School and the districtâ??s administration building next door. The gymnasium would be built to FEMA 361 standards, which govern the construction of storm shelters. Willhite said the shelter would be designed to hold Salisburyâ??s entire population of about 1,600 people.

Willhite said the district and its contractors managed to eliminate about half of the overrun by Mondaynightâ??s meeting and were working to get the rest of the cost down. He said the biggest savings came from eliminating several theater features and reducing the gymnasiumâ??s seating capacity. He said the district ended up awarding most of the contracts for the project and is redoing the plumbing bid, which he said ended up about $100,000 higher than expected because the original bidder, which was responsible for the structureâ??s sprinkler system, mistakenly thought it was also supposed to install the plumbing.