School board OKs $110,000 budget increase for special programs building

A $110,000 increase in the construction budget for a planned Richland School District special programs building has been approved by the school board.

The new building will be just north of the district office on Snow Avenue and will house special education facilities and the district's information systems data center.

The old special programs building was built in the 1940s and is too small for the 19 employees working in it, district officials have said. The data servers now are in the administrative building, which lacks electrical capacity to expand them.

The budget approved in November was $1.25 million. But the district realized original designs didn't provide quite enough room for everyone assigned to the building, said Mark Panther, the district's executive director of support services.

The design grew slightly in size, which added $16,000 in costs, documents show. Another increase of $33,000 is for changes to the server room design.

"We need to provide for growth as technology changes," Panther said.

That means building cooling systems and electrical capacity that can handle more than what current needs are.

The largest single increase in the cost is $45,000 for furniture.

"We had hoped to use existing furniture," Panther said, but when district officials took a closer look, that furniture turned out to be "broken-down old stuff," he said.

Employees still will work on used furniture -- it just will come from elsewhere.

"We're looking at surplus furniture other districts are selling," Panther said.

The project is scheduled to go to bid in April and to be completed in mid-October.