Part of Washington Co. school project could be cut due to inflation, supply-chain issues

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 8:37 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Washington County School District has a big project in store for its younger students. However, things aren’t going quite as planned.

The school district budgeted federal funds for two new Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) buildings a couple of years ago with one in Chipley and another in Vernon. However, supply-chain issues and inflation are throwing a wrench into those plans.

The initial price tag of the project was budgeted to not exceed $4 million for both projects. The cost is now estimated to be around $5 million dollars for one building.

“The issues with those is once a project gets above $4 million, you can’t do those and you have to go back into the bid proposal,” said Washington County Schools Superintendent Joe Taylor. “You have to then re-advertise for architects and you have to re-advertise for the actual construction project.”

Some teachers are also worried about the delay.

“The delays, because of the world right now, is hard because we’re at a center that you know, we’re busting at the seams,” said Teacher on Special Assignment Linda Mincey. “We have capacity right here, right now.”

The current VPK center in Chipley was built in 1987. School officials say the new building will be larger and better equipped for younger students.

“So, even though it’s been remodeled, like bathroom-wise for our students, the new school setting will be more for us,” Mincey said.

Taylor said he is going to talk with the school board next week to see where things stand. He’s hoping the building in Chipley will be completed in 2024. It will have eight rooms in total, including a cafeteria.

Taylor also said renovations will be done to a school building in Vernon if the new building project in that area gets scrapped.