BETHEL – The SAD 44 Board of Directors voted unanimously Monday to contract with Nor Coeur Construction of Westbrook for renovations to the locker rooms and the Helen C. Berry Auditorium at Telstar High and Middle school.

Superintendent David Murphy said the cost of the project is $220,000, which is $120,000 less than an earlier bid by Nor Coeur.

“Engineer Jim Reuter was able to negotiate the contract down by $120,000,” Murphy said, “by paring off about $90,000 in certain parts of the project and cutting other areas that we felt we could live without. We need to get the project going if it is to be finished this summer and we felt we could cut some of the project and still be able to improve the locker rooms and the auditorium.”

He also said he expects state funds to replace some of the specifics of the project that were cut, such as the lighting and a sound system.

“Hopefully, through revolving renovation funds, we can still complete most of the project as planned. If not, we will have to work from the five-year cycle of renovation funds in our local capital improvement project budget,” he said.

Although board member Robert Everett voted in favor of awarding the contract to Nor Coeur, he said he would like to see a policy change calling for an actual written contract in the board members’ hands prior to the board taking a vote.

“I don’t like to vote on a contract without a contract in hand to read. Without one to read ahead of time, we’re going to vote on a contract without knowing the language. We should have a least a rough draft here before we make a decision,” Everett said.

Finance Committee Chairman Sidney Pew said, “There’s a standard type contract required by the state which we will be getting, and I don’t remember a time when we have approved a contract that has been detrimental to the district.”

Everett agreed that probably is true. “But I think the system should be changed,” he added. “We should see a contract before us before we vote on it.”

Murphy said he expects a written contract to be in district hands by Thursday.

The project is expected to be done before school opens in late summer.

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