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BCISD gets higher-than-expected price tag for Bertram Elementary expansion

Bertram Elementary expansion project

The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District's 2021 bond projects are moving forward, and a few are completed. One reported problem: The cost for the Bertram Elementary School expansion is expected to come in higher than initially estimated. Image courtesy of BCISD

The cost for Bertram Elementary School renovations and upgrades might come in over the original $8.5 million estimated construction budget, according to the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District.

The work includes adding a new two-story wing and would expand the campus to accommodate more than 700 students. The campus currently has a capacity of about 450 students, which the district said the school will reach and exceed in a few years. 

District staff told the BCISD Board of Trustees at its Dec. 13 meeting that the cost increase is “due to significant inflation in materials and labor.” 

In May, BCISD voters approved a $52 million bond, which included expanding Bertram Elementary and improvements to all campuses. 

BCISD Superintendent Keith McBurnett stated in a media release that the district’s construction manager at-risk, S&P, will investigate “potential alternatives and cost-saving measures.” The board will make any final decisions regarding changes or alternatives during its Feb. 21 regular meeting and also consider approving a guaranteed maximum price for the Bertram Elementary project.

At December meeting, district staff also gave an update on other bond projects, including a few that have been completed: a swing set at Shady Grove Elementary; a playscape at R.J. Richey Elementary; and the parking lot at the BCISD tennis courts.

Over Christmas break, Allied Fire Protection should finish separating the fire systems for Quest High School, Head Start, and the Burnet County annex building. The three share the same complex in the 700 block of North Wood Street in Burnet.

Other projects on the horizon are:

  • rerouting the main water line and gas line at the Burnet High School baseball field;
  • demolishing the current Bulldog Stadium home-side press box and installing a new one (drawings are in progress);
  • making improvements to the Burnet High School auditorium;
  • and completing work on Bulldog Stadium Drive.

During the summer, BCISD plans to tackle a number of other bond-related projects, including, but not limited to:

  • adding nurse isolation areas at Burnet High School and R.J. Richey Elementary School;
  • renovating auditorium restrooms at Burnet Middle School; 
  • upgrading gym walls at Quest High School;
  • completing walking tracks and playground fences at R.J. Richey Elementary and Shady Grove Elementary;
  • and expanding awning on the bus lane at R.J. Richey Elementary.

For more information on the bond and related projects, visit the BCISD Bond 2021 webpage

In other business, the board approved hiring Lauren Nelson as assistant principal at R.J. Richey Elementary. She has 16 years of education experience, including teaching fourth grade for three years at the campus. She previously worked as a fourth-grade teacher, instructional coach, middle school teacher, and dyslexia specialist in the Pflugerville Independent School District. 

daniel@thepicayune.com