All preschool bids rejected after coming in over budget

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Nelson County prepares to sell OKH Intermediate

By Erin L. McCoy

The Nelson County School Board Tuesday rejected all bids for construction of a new preschool that would centralize district childcare services in the former Central Office building. A combination of the lowest bids totaled about $300,000 more than the original budget of $2.7 million, superintendent Anthony Orr said.

Architects Studio Kremer will return to the design of the project to see where changes in the design — such as selecting more cost-effective materials — may bring future bids closer to budget, board member Nicky Rapier said.

The school board also declared Old Kentucky Home Intermediate School surplus property, the first step toward selling the building. The building has been unoccupied since last school year, with all facilities moved to Foster Heights Elementary School now.

The building has been appraised at $650,000, but the district hasn’t yet set a date to open for bids, Orr said.

“It’s something we want to be careful about because it’s certainly historical,” he said of the 70-year-old building.

An audit report from Brown & Company for the year ending June 30, 2010, found the district in full compliance with federal funds regulations, and marked internal controls as effective — meaning that the audit found no inappropriate overlap in tasks performed by employees. The audit also found no violations in activity funds, which include accounts for sports teams, clubs and field trips.

“In closing, a very clean audit. Congratulations,” read executive director of administrative services Tim Hockensmith from a letter written by auditor Gilbert Brown. 

“I’m very happy with the results of the audit,” Hockensmith said later. “We always try to do better and we’re going to continue to try to do that, but I don’t think it could be much more positive … especially considering the financial climate that we’re operating in.”

Louise Collins and Evelyn Mayer of Nelson County High School made a presentation to the board about last year’s college and career fair, which was open to sophomores, juniors and seniors, and discussed what changes would be made for the second career fair, which will be 8:30-11:30 a.m., March 22, 2011, in the Nelson County High School gym.

Mayer said juniors seemed to benefit most from last year’s career fair.

“The juniors even asked for more time,” she said.

The goal for March is to feature 50 reps from businesses and colleges who can talk to students about career opportunities and what the different schools offer. Collins said about 30 have committed so far. Most colleges last year were Kentucky colleges, and businesses included Salt River Electric, the Geek Squad and Sykes.

“We’re hoping it’ll be bigger and better,” Collins said.

The board approved final payments for Foster Heights renovation Phase I and for the Cox’s Creek Elementary School roof replacement. Meanwhile, the board moved one step closer to beginning the Foster Heights construction project phase II by approving BG-1 and BG-3 forms, which will be sent to the state.

Three students from Horizons Academy made a presentation about several activities at the school, including a Food for Friends fundraiser, which as of Tuesday had collected $170. The idea to start the program came from several students in a social issues class, said principal Scottie Collier. Donations will go to a food pantry in Chaplin.

Horizons also received a $600 grant from the Nelson County Education Endowment Fund. 

“Our idea was to get more parents involved in the school and get them coming here in a positive light,” Collier explained.

The grant will be used to host three family nights during the rest of the year. The first will be Nov. 30, shortly after the school receives its progress reports — a good opportunity for parents to ask questions and raise any concerns, Collier said. The other two are March 22 and May 3. The grant will also fund certificates and awards to be presented on family nights.

Horizons is also issuing a monthly newsletter for parents.

When board member Frank Hall asked the students, Jake Cecil, Braydon Julian and Rebecca Meckisis, what they thought of Horizons all of them seemed to agree.

“I love it,” Julian said.

“It gives us a chance to catch up on some bad credits,” Cecil added.

“It’s very educational, too,” Meckisis said.