Inflated prices cause headaches for school expansion

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 8:57 PM CDT
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - As prices are getting higher and higher, the fate of a project for the Batesville School District is in jeopardy.

On Friday, Superintendent Dr. Michael Hester said up to 40% of the project may not be possible because of rising costs.

“The construction costs are up to 24 percent,” he said.

Now the school district is asking for help.

Hester said the district is working on a project to add more classrooms, cafeteria space, and an auditorium.

The $25 million project was approved by the state and a bond restructure was passed before costs skyrocketed.

With rising prices, the district doesn’t have enough money to complete the project.

“We are at 25 million. It’s what we were wanting our project to land at,” Hester said. “With 24%, that means we are six million short.”

A Batesville resident said it is important the district gets the space it needs to make successful students.

“If we want these kids to go out into the world and be the great people know that we know they can be. We have to be able to teach them, we have to have room for them,” Rachel Burnett said.

Hester said if the project doesn’t get finished, it will hurt the student numbers.

“A fourth of our kids in classrooms are gone, a fourth of your cafeteria space and we already were hurting for cafeteria space. We have no auditorium that is going to be cut down,” he said.

The district is also in a time crunch, as the money they receive comes from the state.

Hester said the district has to spend 5% of the $25 million in 30 days and the rest in 3 years, so he said they cannot waste any time.

Hester is reaching out to Independence County leaders and the governor to how they can get more time or money on the project.

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