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Farmington school board OKs renovation projects

The Farmington School Board approved renovation projects at three schools and put a few more on hold at its meeting Monday night.

The board approved bids for work at Farmington Elementary, Akin Road Elementary and Farmington High School. It delayed decisions on some of the work at Akin Road to allow more time for discussion and sent a plan to build an enclosure for a noisy chiller at FHS back for new bids after all three bids came in higher than expected.

The FES project is the most expensive and most extensive of those the board is considering. The bid approved Monday was for $6.03 million for work that includes improvements to the air handling system, improvements to the cafeteria and remodeling to add four new kindergarten classes.

At ARES the district will pay $1.16 million to make improvements to the air handling system and renovate the media center. The board held off on three other parts of the project, including removing lockers from the school's entryway to give office staff a better view of people coming into the building. Finance director Carl Colmark said board members wanted to talk more about those parts of the project.

At FHS, the board approved a $192,000 bid for improvements to the ventilation system in science classrooms. Board members rejected bids to enclose the chiller used as part of the school's cooling system. That chiller has been louder than expected since the school opened and has drawn complaints from neighbors, but the low bid of $549,880 was well above what the district expected to pay.

Colmark said there is no timeline yet for when the district will seek new bids for the chiller project.

"We need to get some feedback from the manufacturers to find out why their bids came in 50 percent higher than estimated," he said.

Overall, the bids approved Monday are below the district's estimates. Colmark said the district came out "about $500,000 better than we had anticipated."

The district will pay for the projects at all three schools with money from a number of funds as well as $2.2 million in alternative facility health and safety bonds. The board also approved the sale of those bonds Monday.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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