Old cafeteria building at Dodgertown Elementary to be demolished

GIFFORD – The former cafeteria building at Dodgertown Elementary will be torn down by the same company that built the new cafeteria.

The Indian River County School Board unanimously approved the $187,000 project, though one member questioned the single bid for the work.

Board member Jeff Pegler expressed concern that the district did not bid out the work to demolish the old cafeteria, instead opting to have the contractor already on scene perform the work.

“It needs to be demolished, no doubt,” Pegler said.

Deputy Superintendent Michael Degutis explained to the board that there would be a cost savings in having the firm currently on-site demolish the structure rather than pay for another company to haul equipment to the campus.

He explained that the $187,000 is in the contingency fund from the project’s budget.

Director of Facilities Susan Olson further explained that when the district first planned the project, the plan had included demolishing the cafeteria. However, due to Department of Education rules, the district had to wait until the new cafeteria was up and running to declare the old building unfit for students.

“That was an impossible position” for the district, Olson said, adding that the students still had to use the old cafeteria until the new was functional.

If the district had declared the old building unfit from the start, the students would not have been able to use it while the new cafeteria was under construction.

As to Pegler’s concern about not bidding out the demolition work, Olson said that Summit Construction Management was already on scene, built the new cafeteria and was very familiar with the old cafeteria, where the campus’s power is housed.

“This is very specialized work,” Olson said.

Pegler said that though he understood the district staff’s reasons for going with Summit, he would prefer the district sought estimates for the work to compare prices and be sure that Summit’s price is reasonable.

“I would just feel more comfortable,” Pegler said.

Despite his concerns, he and the remaining board members voted in favor of having Summit perform the work. When the demolition will take place has not yet been determined.

Also during the School Board meeting, the board unanimously approved the nearly $21,000 in donations to various schools and their programs and clubs.

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