The Guthrie Center School Board was caught a bit by surprise at the construction bids received for their fitness center and HVAC system project at Tuesday’s special meeting.

The Board along with architect Tom Wollan of FRK Architecture and Engineering opened the four received bids, which all came in over the Board’s budget of $1.2 million, which they were planning to bond out with Secure an Advanced Vision for Education funds. The lowest received was $1,505,440 from Sande Construction and the highest was $1,853,000 from Jensen Builders. Superintendent Dennis McClain says Wollan spoke with one of the general contractors’ representatives after the meeting about which aspects significantly drove up the bid, which appeared to be electrical and mechanical. McClain says FRK has a few upcoming bid openings for other projects, for which Wollan will be curious to see if those also exceed budgets, or if Guthrie Center is a unique case.

Regardless, McClain says this has not stalled the project, “We’re still on the timeline, if we can work out some of these things and do some change orders and get it back within budget. We’ll still be right on our timeline if we can get some of that figured out by our April meeting, when we would approve the final financing and construction plans.”

McClain adds Wollan will also be in talks with the contractors before the regular April board meeting to see where adjustments can be made. The Board still anticipates breaking ground for the facility around May, with the project completed by late fall.