CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County school board recently voted 5-1 to add $43,000 to a $72,000 project to repave Ocoee Middle School's parking lot and driveway.
Board member Chris Turner cast the opposing vote.
The $43,000 change order would address previously undiscovered weaknesses under the pavement, said Doug Caywood, a consultant on the project.
Williams Construction, which is handling the paving, has experienced "a lot of failure around the site" as pavement gives way under its heavy vehicles, Caywood said.
Engineer Rocky Chambers said the parking lots have been patched over the years, but the additional work would extend the life of the new surface from five years to 20.
Officials said the problem could have been found earlier if a $2,700 geotechnical survey had been performed.
Caywood questioned whether the board would have approved the project if members had known the cost would be $120,000 to $140,000.
He said Williams Construction already had committed an extra 90 tons of material trying to fix the crumbling surface before the change order was requested.
The school board also voted 5-1 to bid out several capital improvement projects, including a $130,000 repaving project at Prospect Elementary School. No contracts will be issued before the 2014 fiscal year begins July 1.
Turner again cast the opposing vote. He questioned the scope of the project and whether there would be more surprises like those at Ocoee Middle School. He also noted the Bradley County Commission has not approved the schools budget.
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis has said he did not have any issues with the proposed budget, said Rick Smith, business manager for Bradley County Schools.
Caywood said the Prospect Elementary paving needs to start quickly so it can be finished before school starts. The winning bidder will have only 33 days from July 1 to finish the work before school traffic complicates the project.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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