SIOUX CITY | No people spoke at a Monday public hearing about the Bryant Elementary School building, as the Sioux City School Board officially adopted the plans and moved to seek bids that could be acted on in June.

School district officials are working to avoid a yearlong delay in the opening time of the planned northside school.

In March, the lowest of two bids for constructing the main part of the building came in at $18.8 million, much higher than the $16 million estimate. That's when Superintendent Paul Gausman said the school opening could be delayed from 2019 to August 2020.

But in April, new designs for the building from an architect, Cannon Moss Brygger Architects, of Sioux City, were received, and the cost estimate dropped to a projection of $17,467,030.

That amount at the midpoint of the former plans and the March low bid gave school board members optimism that the project could be pursued more quickly. Then Monday, the public hearing on the new Bryant scope was held, and those plans were adopted after no one other than administrators spoke.

In the upcoming timeline, bids will be opened on June 6, then presented at the next school board meeting on June 12 for action.

"Tell interested contractors to sharpen their pencils," School Board President Mike Krysl said.

Krysl added it "is quite possible we will be able to open this school" by August 2019.

Up to now, the new Bryant school was estimated to cost almost $20 million, including the first two phases that are already underway for just under a combined $4 million. If the new conception of the main building ends up being at the $17.4 million estimate, the total cost could move above $21 million total.

School district officials are aiming to construct a new Bryant to replace the old building that dated to 1890 and was demolished in July 2016 at 821 30th St.

That happened after much neighborhood controversy on where the school should be built. After a new 10-acre spot could not be found, school officials morphed to a three-level option at the same spot as the old school was located. The size will be 106,950 square feet.

The revised plans keep the same number of classrooms and the size of those instructional rooms.

The main changes in the plans approved Monday involve reductions in costs of concrete and steel used. The Bryant metal exterior will be shifted to masonry and the gymnasium will incorporate a thinner brick, for instance.

Director of Operations and Maintenance Brian Fahrendholz said there was a storm shelter added to the original plans 18 months ago, due to a proposed change to the Sioux City building codes. After discussions with the state and city, Fahrendholz said it was determined the shelter was not prepared with the appropriate design requirements, so it was removed. There will still be designated areas in the building for severe weather events.

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County & Education Reporter

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