Hamilton County Commissioners approved a bid to construct a new building for Ganns Middle Valley Elementary School that came in 27 percent higher than officials originally estimated.
The current contract with Rentenbach Constructors is for $29 million to demolish the current 78-year-old building as well as Falling Water Elementary and then construct a new school.
The project was accelerated to 13 months in order to be completed by the beginning of the 2016 school year, which county officials said helped drive up the cost.
Last week, the county estimated the school would cost $25 million to demolish and rebuild, with a possible $1 million increase for the accelerated construction.
"I was just as surprised as all of you at the price," Gary Waters, the school system's facility manager, told the Commission.
Commissioners asked if the increase in costs could keep the county from finishing two other slated projects for this year. County Mayor Jim Coppinger said the other projects would move forward.
Currently, Ganns Middle Valley located between Soddy-Daisy and Hixson houses about one-third of students in portable trailers. Ceilings leak and kids and teachers often go home sick because of mold and dust problems, parents said. The school has no gym, and instead uses a basement room for PE classes.