School board amends contract for remodeling of North Marion High School

Nancy Thrower of District 4 listens during a meeting of the Marion County Public School Board at the MTI auditorium in Ocala on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.

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Posted May 26, 2022 | Caroline Brauchler

A construction change order on the remodel of North Marion High School was approved by the Marion County School board during a meeting on Tuesday. 

The change order extended the completion date under the original agreement with Ausley Construction by another 175 days, at the cost of $157,853.27.

The original 2021 agreement was part of a Five-Year District Work Program with estimated price tag of $7 million. Those plans included a new cafeteria and kitchen building which have already been completed. 

The change order addresses work to be completed renovating the old cafeteria and kitchen space into multi use space.

“We wanted to have this done a lot sooner, but there are a lot of situations when it comes to managing our school system where compliance issues hold us back,” said Board Member Nancy Thrower. 

Thrower emphasized that despite the inconvenience of the project falling behind, the most important aspect is that the schools are up to code to safely house students and ensure that everything passes inspection. 

“When it comes to school construction law, there are so many codes that we have to follow and any time we want to make a change to the plan, even if it’s going to benefit students…it always has to comply with all these different regulatory bodies,” Thrower said. 

The effect of action for the change order will allow for the Facilities Department to direct the contractor to make whatever changes deemed fit by the Fire Marshall plan review, according to Agenda Item 21.2. School Board Vice-Chair said that the fire code has not been the only problem to delay the completion of the remodeling. 

“Some of this also could have been supply chain related, depending on the equipment that was needed at the time,” Campbell said. “I know with…starting construction ahead of a pandemic, going through a pandemic, etcetera, I know we had significant supply chain issues with this particular construction project.”

Campbell agreed with Thrower’s stance that while the extenuation of the project may be frustrating, the district must ensure that the time and money spent are well-allocated and that the finished product is up to the necessary standard.

“We need to ensure that we get it right the first time and we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to ensure that the whole project is completed to perfection and satisfaction,” Campbell said.