(KMOV) – The costs keep rising to upgrade the football stadium bleachers at Kirkwood High School.
“We estimated that the cost would be about 2.4 million, but when the bids came in January, they were about $3 million,” said Dr. Tom Williams, Kirkwood Superintendent.
The cost now stands at $3.6 million for various upgrades. The district said the renovation will benefit their students and community.
One board member is now concerned that the stadium project is taking more importance over education and the other district needs.
Williams said there is a desperate need for upgrades to the bleachers at the high school. “The concrete was crumbling; it was really just basically pretty unsafe to go in and out of.”
After a year of planning and one construction bid already pulled, there’s a new plan in place to address the need.
The project’s original estimate was $2.4 million then $3 million and now it’s at $3.6 million. There’s an additional $1.4 million to improve the school band and journalism classrooms.
The rising costs of the stadium project didn’t sit well with school board member Sara King.
“Even though I see the advantages for moving it forward, are we putting those band and journalism rooms at risk, if we’re using the majority of the funds for the stadium?”
King was the only board member to vote against the measure at last week’s meeting.
School leaders say the upgrades are needed because the bleachers are not handicap accessible. They say now is the best time to do the project.
Dr. Williams said, “There’s still a low cost, low construction cost, there’s possibly the lowest interest rates that we’ll see for many years, and the opportunity to do it without raising taxes.”
He said the district will do everything they can to keep the costs down during construction.
The project would be completely funded by revenue bonds and some district funds.
The district is expected to review bids from construction companies next month and make a recommendation at their November 18 school board meeting.
If approved, construction could begin later that month.