Construction plans are in the works for a new $2.8 million gym at McKinleyville Middle School.
District Superintendent Michael Davies-Hughes said the gym is being funded in part with money the district received from Measure C, a $14 million bond that allowed the district to renovate three schools -- including McKinleyville Middle School, Dows Prairie Elementary and Morris Elementary.
"We used the money to upgrade buildings and improve security and windows for the schools because they are old and have some wear and tear," Davies-Hughes said. "A vast majority of the funding went to renovations, and one of the desires -- after renovations and modernization -- was to give McKinleyville Middle School a gym."
During the renovation process, Davies-Hughes said they ran into unforeseen costs such as tearing down a wall and finding asbestos or a rusted pipe that had to be fixed.
"The original plan was for $5 million and would include a lobby area, a stage and locker rooms, but the architect had to cut back because our budget shrank," he said.
The district applied for state funding and looked at selling unused school property, but was unsuccessful.
"State funding was limited, and we didn't find any bidders that looked appealing," Davies-Hughes said.
In order to cut back on certain costs, the district entered into a contract with Fortuna-based Dinsmore Construction.
Dinsmore Construction owner Dirk Dinsmore said there is an approved plan and that efforts are being made to cut costs.
"Some ways we're looking at reducing costs is by removing the stage and locker rooms, but leaving it in a way that they can be added onto the building at a later time when funding becomes available," Dinsmore said. "We're also using cheaper finishes and furnishings to reduce other costs."
Davies-Hughes said if everything remains on track, the goal is to begin construction by the end of June or the beginning of July.
Dinsmore said the project should take about 12 months, and has a projected completion date of summer 2015.
Melissa Simon can be reached at 441-0508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.