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Hannibal Schools Looking at Ways to Use Remaining Construction Project Money

Hannibal’s big school construction project is all but done and now attention is turning to the work that can be done with the money left over.

Phil Wise of SWBR, the district’s construction firm, said that the project is down to punch lists.  Those are the lists of small items that need to be fixed or finished. “The majority of work is done,” he said.

Among the items on the punch list:

  • Generators for all three schools to provide power during outages.  The generators were bought and installed, but would not start.  National Grid had apparently ignored Hannibal’s written requests for an increase in natural gas pressure so all three could run at once.  The utility is finally supplying the extra gas pressure.  Wise said the generators would be tested soon;
  • Curtains and lighting for the high school stage. Wise explained that modern curtains and modern lighting tend to be heavier.  The stage’s current supports might not hold the new curtain, so those supports are being replaced.  The curtain and lighting are scheduled to be installed over the February school break.

The $26.9 million project ran well under budget.  For several months, the district has been poring over lists of small items that can be fixed or built with the remaining money.

It’s a “use it or lose it” situation.  The project carries no local share, so taxes won’t go up or down regardless of whether all of the money is used or not.

One of the issues being looked at is the drainage of the football field.

Wise said the soil is “wonderful — exactly the right mix of soil and sand.”  So why isn’t the field draining properly?  For one thing, the field isn’t crowned enough, Wise said.  The field should peak in the middle along a line running from goalpost to goalpost in order to promote runoff.

But the main problem lies beneath the soil.  Wise said that some drainage pipes are crushed.  They should have been at least a foot below the surface but were only 6 to 9 inches below and could have been broken by equipment used to poke air holes in the turf or simply by use of the field.

Other pipes are clogged with dirt because they lack the cloth coverings used to allow water to pass through while stopping dirt.

The drains date to 1997-98, Wise estimated.

Just how much work can be done with the remaining money is still being sorted out.

The district and its financial consultants are working with the state to determine how much of the proposed work can be paid for using the leftover funds.  Only work that can be paid for that way will be done, officials stressed.

The consultant told the Board of Education that about $300,000 might be available for projects.