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Brighton Schools Approve Design and Development Plans on First Bond Phase

More than 25 residents attended the School Board meeting Monday night to express concerns over the design package.

Brighton Area Schools Board of Education members unanimously approved design and development plans for phase one bond projects throughout the district, despite about 10 requests from residents during the call to the public to delay the vote.

Brighton Superintendent Greg Gray said the first phase will cost a little more than $20 million.

The approved plan includes revised design of the Scranton Middle School athletic field, which was moved from the front of the school to the back. However, board members changed the field's lighting and public announcement system into alternates that the they can determine to include or exclude after the bidding process and before construction begins.

Lighting, sound and parking were the three main concerns of residents living in the neighborhood behind Scranton Middle School.

Green Oak resident Brenda Goebbel said she believes the school board's actions show a lack of due diligence and transparency because the neighborhood was never informed of the changes in the field location.

Another resident Jack Barry said he was told at a bond committee meeting that site research ordered by board members of the original location four weeks prior was never completed - and because of the lack of transparency he was submitting a Freedom of Information Act request of all communications between the board, SHW Group and Auch Construction.

The design and development presentation given to board members Monday night showed that if the field were to be built in the front of the school, then there would be 20 feet from the edge of the track to the property line as opposed to 50 feet from the edge of the soccer fields to the property line in the back of the school.

In addition, grading the topography and running utilities from the back corner of the school to the front location would cost about $500,000 more than the current design in the back of the school.

Brighton Schools Vice President Bill Anderson said the field just would not fit in the front.

"As much as we talk about issues that a person has 300 feet away from the field is magnified 100 times if it's 20 feet away from your yard," he said.

"I'm pleased with the outcome," Gray said. "I think it was a wise decision. It was the least disruptive to the surrounding homeowners."

There was some concern expressed by Brighton Schools Trustee John Conely that Scranton Middle School was $1 million over the estimated budget.

However, Gray said the overall budget for the first phase bond is $100,000 under budget, and that's not including the 15 percent contingency for each building. Gray said additional items at Scranton drove the project over its original estimated budget.

"The real thing to understand, for all the projects, they're 100,000 under budget," Gray said. "If you look at a particular site, people are going to think, 'well they're over budget.' No, we're $100,000 under budget - plus we haven't even touched the contingency, which is more than $3 million. So presently, the project is under budget by more than $3 million."

The next steps will be for the bond architect, SHW Group, to generate construction documents, or blueprints. Bidding is expected to go out sometime between January and Febuary 2013. Construction on phase one projects is expected to begin in April 2013.

For more information on the $88.4 million bond, visit the Bond Update page on the Brighton Area Schools' website.

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