Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dixon Trustees Unanimously Approve New School

Dixon Trustees Unanimously Approve New School
They accept the $60.6 million bid to build a new high school; groundbreaking scheduled for Dec. 3.

By David Henson/Staff Writer

Dixon Unified School District trustees unanimously accepted a $60.6 million bid to build a new high school Monday night, putting a partnership of two construction companies to work.

Now, Woodland-based Broward Brothers and Sacramento-based Clark & Sullivan Builders can crank up their construction equipment, which already is on the 80-acre site awaiting the Dec. 3 groundbreaking.

"Tonight's a good night," said School Board President Shana Levine, barely concealing her glee.

The $60 million price tag on the project exceeds the latest budget, which was $58 million, but surpasses by $7 million to $8 million the funds the district has earmarked. Neverthelees, trustees focused on the positive and tip-toed around the cost overruns.

Trustee Alan Hodge said the district still was working on ways to bridge the budget gap and wasn't ready to lay out a plan - whether by not having parts of the high school constructed, by further fundraising or by leveraging future years' developer fees.

"We have some options in place of what we can do," Hodge said. "It's a matter of deciding which one."

Trustees are confident that finding the extra funding won't hinder the project in the least.

"We just approved a bid for the whole high school," Trustee Steve Larson said, who added that conversations with the district's financial consultant had put him at ease over the numbers.

The district also completed the final leg of an intricate partnership involving the city of Dixon and Danville-based developer Brookfield Homes. Trustees closed out a land deal with Brookfield, which has helped offset cost increases by providing the district with half the 80 acres needed for the school as well as site-grading and infrastructure. In exchange, Brookfield will get to build homes a little sooner than otherwise allowed under a limited-growth initiative.

Thanking trustees for their support, Mayor Mary Ann Courville said she came to the district's meeting to return the favor and offer the city's further assistance.

"I know, working on it together, we can close that gap," Courville said.

David Henson can be reached at dixon@thereporter.com.

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