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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

AME construction cutbacks nearly complete

Anna Maria Elementary School construction team members from W.G. Mills, Educational Design Associates and the Manatee County School District have spent the past three weeks quietly trimming the school's construction budget to meet its initial $5.6 million budget.

AME Principal Kathy Hayes said she has met with Steve Schield, Gina Duvall and Michael Pierce, community representatives on the construction team, to update the cost-reduction process.

Hayes said the team tasked with reducing costs has been meeting three to four times a week and has brought the project close to budget. "They have been intricately looking for ways to reduce costs without sacrificing our educational program or the 'promise' made to the community."

The "promise" made to the community by the school board included Bahama-style shutters, a metal roof, and landscaping enhancements.

Although the estimated ticket price of the promised items was nearly $150,000 over the additional $500,000 allocated for AME by Manatee County Superintendent Roger Dearing, Hayes said the team has been able to reduce that cost as well.

Hayes said she hasn't seen the updated landscape plan, but she does know the team was able to significantly reduce the amount of fill it initially planned to use. The cost of fill was previously estimated at $250,000.

Hayes said that the team has reduced costs through its choice of construction materials and methods.

Another item that has not been compromised is the plans for the new auditorium. Despite discussions to possibly scale back the size of the auditorium, Hayes said the community would still get a full-scale auditorium.

"I indicated that I don't want just a large multi-purpose room," said Hayes. "That was a big issue and I felt it would affect the educational program here at the school."

Hayes is scheduled to meet with Dearing, school board member Harry Kinnan, and members of the cost-reduction team to view the final cutbacks and construction designs Nov. 19.

Based on the results of that meeting, a meeting to update the community representatives on the team will be scheduled. Hayes said she is not sure if there will be another public meeting before the plans go to the school board for approval sometime in January.

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