Northeast Dubois opens bids for renovation


DUBOIS — Groundbreaking on the renovation at Northeast Dubois High School is now only weeks away.

The Northeast Dubois School Board held a special meeting Tuesday to open bids for the renovation that will prepare the high school building to hold seventh through 12th grades. The board received four bids ranging from $2,995,000 to $3,395,740. Jasper Lumber and Seufert Construction of Ferdinand had the two lowest bids. The board will take the bids under advisement, and George Link with VPS Architecture of Evansville will review the bids. Link has been working with the school corporation since November on plans to reconfigure the corporation in an effort to save money.

Jasper Lumber’s base bid was $3,119,000, and Seufert Construction’s base bid was $2,995,800. Both bids included several alternates that add renovations to the project should the school have the funds.

Link said he will have a recommendation for the board at its October meeting, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the corporation office, 5379 E. Main St., Dubois.

Once the board approves a contractor, work will begin almost immediately.

“We’ve got a construction plan that works through the project while school is in session without impeding instruction,” Link said.

At last month’s meeting, the board approved a grade configuration for the school corporation that will take effect in the 2020-21 school year following the closure of Celestine Elementary. Under the new configuration, pre-K through second-grade students will attend classes at what is now Dubois Elementary School, all third- through sixth-graders will study at the current Dubois Middle School and the high school will house seventh through 12th grades.

The groundwork for the coming changes began in November when the corporation partnered with Link to look at how to use roughly $3 million the corporation will have freed up in the debt service fund. School corporations use the debt service fund to cover larger construction projects. To do so, schools generally wait until previous debt is paid off, then take on new debt to keep a steady property tax rate.

Debt service funds can only be used for construction projects. Right now, Northeast Dubois officials want to leverage the funds becoming available to eliminate the need for another education fund referendum — previously called a general fund referendum — when the current referendum, which passed in 2016, expires in 2024.

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