by Alan McArthur
Construction at the new Pathfinder Elementary School near Barry School continues to be behind schedule and will not be ready at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year.
The news came during Thursday night’s meeting of the Platte County R-3 School Board.
During the meeting Dr. Mark Harpst, superintendent, said the district needed to be careful about how space was organized because Pathfinder will not be complete at the beginning of school.
In a later interview, Harpst explained that further delays have ruled out the opening of Pathfinder for the beginning of the year.
“We're making progress on the construction,” said Harpst. “But we don't know yet, potentially we could open mid-year or we may wait until the following year.”
According to Harpst, the district does not have a date now for when the school will be ready.
The board of education previously discussed what the delay could mean for the district.
Possible costs to the district could include the employment of staff, such as janitors and secretaries, for Pathfinder before the school actually opens.
At the site the prefabricated concrete walls are being put into place and the contractor is pouring slabs of concrete inside the walls.
During the January board meeting, the board decided to move forward after weather delays by putting up the walls and then pouring the concrete floors. The move had the potential to cost the district an additional $40,000 to $50,000. However, the contractor and architect firms decided to cover the cost because of previous delays.
The construction has been delayed because of zoning and permit issues with Kansas City. The contractor also was slowed by a large amount of rock at the site.
Craig Shonk, Manning Construction project manager, told the board the contractor should be done installing the walls by the end of the week and expects they will begin installing steel beams for the roof in a couple of weeks.
The board also approved a measure to increase the tuition at the Northland Career Center. The fees for more courses will increase by $200 a year.
For students from the school's consortium the tuition will increase from $1,500 per semester to $1,600 per semester or $200 more per year.
The tuition for students not from the school's consortium or adults taking classes will increase from $1,625 to $1,725 per semester, an increase of $200 per year.
On Thursday, Harpst gave a report to the board about the district's continued negotiations with Kansas City concerning a proposed tax abatement at KCI.
Harpst said the district had not yet heard back from the city with the district's counter offer. According to Harpst, it had been nine days as of Thursday since they submitted the counter offer and he had received an email saying at least one person was out of town.
Kansas City had offered the school district $0.08 per square foot of a building's footprint constructed on property owned by Kansas City near KCI.
Harpst said the city of Kansas City has requested the district not speak any more to the media about the issue.