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Suquamish project hits a bump

SUQUAMISH — The renovation of Suquamish Elementary’s mechanical and electronic system has suffered a short circuit.

The North Kitsap School District expected to receive about $1.2 million in matching funds from the state for the project, which should begin next summer.

But the state discovered the elementary school received matching funds in association with the school’s last renovation in the mid-1990s, and according to state law, projects can’t receive such money twice in 20 years.

The result is that the district will receive $355,000 less than it expected.

“It’s an unfortunate circumstance,” said Robin Shoemaker, the district’s director of capital programs, during the North Kitsap School Board meeting Thursday afternoon.

The discrepancy reduces the project budget from approximately $3.4 million to $3.1 million.

School board member Catherine Ahl, who called the discovery “dispiriting,” inquired into possible impacts during Thursday’s meeting.

“My concern is, can we still do what we promised?” she asked.

The project, which is still in the design phases, remains on schedule. But to date the practical impact on the project isn’t yet known.

Shoemaker said that any specific impact on the project won’t be known until consultants Harthorne and Hagen Architects examine how much of the work can be completed at less cost.

“We know (the impact) dollar-wise, but we don’t know how it translates in scope,” she said.

“We don’t know what we’re going to lose in the project,” said board member Helen Hoover. “That’s going to be an important discussion among a lot of people, what we’re going to cut back.”

Suquamish is due to receive improvements in its electrical, mechanical and communications system, as well as some work on the structure itself including painting and wall improvements. The renovations in the mid-1990s were done toward the front of the building, while the renovations planned for summer 2004 would concentrate on both the front and the back.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will still match funds for the district’s project work on 27,807 square feet toward the back of the building.

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