West wants money to go to Valley

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By Don Pace

As West Las Vegas district architect Antonio Ortega approached the podium last week, Board Chairwoman Christine Ludi quipped, “Are you coming back to ask us for the money you saved us?”

Ortega said, “Yes, but just a little bit, but these are good change orders.”

Ortega told the board the district had about $130,000 of the money it appropriated for the Don Cecilio Martinez Elementary School project, and pointed out where those dollars could best be spent. 

“There are a whole bunch of deficiencies in the addition that you (school board) approved for the Valley School gymnasium and the classrooms that have not been addressed because it wasn’t in our scope. There are broken sidewalks, handrails and stucco walls that someone had run into. So these change orders are not for our current project at Don Cecilio, but existing issues at the new construction that you approved several years ago,” Ortega said.

Ortega said the cost of repairs at Valley is $3,413, of which the district would pay $819.

“I think you should approve that change order,” Ortega said “For the cost of $819, the district is going to be able to address all those issues. We have some balances, and we want to enhance the project, so I would recommend a change order to address deficiencies in the existing building (at Valley School),” Ortega said.

Board member Kenny Lujan said he had a problem with the change orders being presented because the deadline on construction has been extended to Sept. 12.

“None of these things affect the occupancy of any school site. If you notice all of these things are outside of our classrooms, outside of our buildings. We are giving them (construction workers) 11 days, but we have made Franken (Construction) understand that none of the work we are talking about gets done until and after full attention is paid to making sure you can move in at least a week before school begins,” Ortega said.

Ortega said one change order is a proposal to add a frost-proof fire hydrant and securing an abandoned manhole. He said other money would be spent on an additional power source for the computer server room. The total cost for two change orders comes to about $14,000.

Ortega said if the board approved the stated change orders, there is still about $130,000 remaining from money appropriated for the renovation of Don Cecilio. He said the state Public School Facilities Authority disapproved all the landscaping and playground equipment the district had requested.

“We cannot leave this site a quagmire because the minute it gets wet it will become a muddy mess, but PSFA has a policy that they won’t pay for landscaping. But we convinced them to recognize the improvements as terrain management. An analogy would be that Valley School school is suffering from the problems PSFA didn’t fund like mud washing into the school. So the agency has agreed to help us make sure we don’t have a mud-bog,” Ortega said.

Ortega said the cost of the project would be more than $100,000, but the state has agreed to chip in, and the districts share would be in the neighborhood of $30,000 to $40,000.

“But it is money that you have appropriated, money that PSFA is willing to share, but it won’t include plants or trees. It will be mainly gravel and wood chips to make sure the kids are not tracking the mud into the building,” Ortega said.

Ortega said that PSFA was holding fast in its refusal to purchase playground equipment, but said the district was talking with a company that had a good price for a piece of playground equipment.

The board approved the change orders.