CDA School Board Cancels Midtown Meeting Center Expansion Project
The school board voted to cancel Midtown Meeting Center expansion project after hearing that they are $1,000,000 over the FY24 project budget. Per the agreement from when the district originally took ESSER funds from the government, they have until the end of 2024 to finish those projects that will use ESSER funds. After shifting a few funds to pay for prior projects that went over budget, the district has a little over $9.3M left out of their original $10.4M allocation.
Note: the ESSER presentation was not included in the workshop’s Board Book so there is nothing to attach here. The board will be approving/finalizing the FY24 ESSER plan at the November regular meeting and the audience should be able to review the updated ESSER plan and presentation by then. Current ESSER plan (before any updates) is on the CDA Schools website here.
After hearing the news that the district needs to cut $1.1M out of their project list, Finance Director Shannon Johnston took the board through the FY24 proposed projects and showed areas where the board could cut including:
Security entrance fund (can take $300k)
Land development fund ($1M in fund can take $300k)
Contingency fund (may be able to take $100k)
Midtown expansion (the district is at a point in their expansion contract that they can cancel the project with only a few incurred expenses which would save $330k.)
The Midtown expansion project was approved by the board at last month’s workshop meeting, motioning to award WM Welch Construction with the project who came in with the lowest bid of $383,969, almost $84,000 over estimated budget from when they first started on this expansion dream. The board was told by Superintendent Hocker multiple times that the meeting room is always booked up, one could hardly ever find available space, and the community wants to see an expanded space. Public comment at the September meeting determined that his statement was a lie.
The ESSER funds discussion ended on a budgeting low note and went straight into an update about the Midtown Meeting Center expansion. The contractor was speaking with the city to pull permits before the start of the project and the city found that the Midtown property is a conglomeration of small parcels. As such the front of the building is no longer the front of the property and the current building does not meet the required vacation standards.
“In the process of applying for the building permit for the Midtown building expansion project, the City of Coeur d’Alene informed us that due to the previous consolidation and vacated portion of Linden Avenue that is now considered part of the property, the front entrance of the Midtown building is no longer recognized as the front for a commercial building in a C-17 Zone. The current building structures do not meet the required setbacks. After the consolidation, Hazel Avenue will become the necessary street to recognize for the required set back.”
In order to rectify the property line conundrum, the board voted to consolidate the lots into one property, and at the same time they voted to cancel the Midtown expansion project and add it to the list of deferred projects to complete at a later date. The district will save approximately $330k with this deferral and can apply those funds towards more priority projects.
More workshop updates will be coming soon!