School board signs contract with manager

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RANGELY — School board members here made it official Dec. 22, signing a contract with the Blythe Group to serve as the management company for the district’s bond projects.
“We signed the contract, so they are now officially on board, though they have been working since November on this,” said Superintendent Dwayne Newman.
“We agreed on how the district would be billed for services. It’s a pretty standard contract. They will charge 1.5 percent on the project management part, and charge 8 percent on everything they design (architecturally). Those are fairly standard rates.”
Roy Blythe, owner of the Grand Junction-based design, architecture and project management company, attended the meeting, along with John Potter, who will be the project manager representing the Blythe Group.
“The board heard a report from them on how things are progressing,” Newman said.
The bonds for the $15 million school project, approved by voters Nov. 4, have been sold.
“We closed on the 19th,” Newman said. “So the money is in the district’s accounts. The district’s CFO is working on getting that put together, so we can put some of it that we’re not going to use immediately in short-term CDs, to try to gain some interest and use as efficiently as we can.”
At its meeting, the board approved a revised budget, granting spending authority for the bond money.
“We adopted a revised budget … to have authority to spend the bond money,” Newman said. “We have to revise our budget to show the fund for the bond money, so the board did that.”
Newman said the board is considering options for the athletic track at the middle school.
“There was quite a bit of discussion about the track and how much it gets used,” Newman said. “The board didn’t have enough information about the costs (to make a decision). What we’re going to do is look to Blythe for some lower-cost alternatives.
“The money is in there,” Newman said. “I think we had nearly $80,000 budgeted for that (as part of the bond project).”
Something will have to be done, Newman said.
“We certainly have to redo the football field; it’s becoming a hazard,” he said. “There are low spots and holes, so we have to do that for sure.”
The board discussed alternatives for the track.
“We talked about the whole gamut, from doing away with (the track), to just putting grass out there and making it a walking track, or putting in like a real fine gravel, which would be less expensive than going in with the blacktop, which is a more traditional track surface,” Newman said.
The board also received an audit report of its accounting practices for 2007-2008.
“The audit is an independent assessment of the health of our financial situation and the quality of our bookkeeping,” Newman said. “We’re required by law to do one every year.”
Newman said, overall, the board’s accounting practices received high marks in the audit report.
“We had a couple of very minor housekeeping things that we need to do differently, as far as entries, but other than that, it was very positive,” he said.