Inflated prices cause headaches for school expansion

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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) – As prices rise higher and higher, the fate of a project for the Batesville School District is in jeopardy.

On Friday, Superintendent Dr Michael Hester said up to 40% of the project may not be possible due to rising costs.

“Construction costs can reach 24%,” he said.

Now the school district is asking for help.

Hester said the district is working on a project to add more classrooms, a cafeteria and an auditorium.

The $25 million project received state approval and a bond restructuring was passed before costs skyrocketed.

With rising prices, the district does not have enough money to complete the project.

“We are at 25 million. This is where we wanted our project to land,” Hester said. “With 24%, that means we are six million short.”

A Batesville resident said it’s important the district gets the space it needs to have its students succeed.

“If we want these kids to come out into the world and be great people, know that we know they can be. We have to be able to teach them, we have to have room for them,” Rachel said. Burnett.

Hester said if the project is not completed, it will hurt student numbers.

“A quarter of our kids in classrooms are gone, a quarter of your cafeteria space and we were already hurting for cafeteria space. We don’t have an auditorium that’s going to be cut,” he said.

The district is also pressed for time, as the money it receives comes from the state.

Hester said the district had to spend 5% of the $25 million in 30 days and the rest in 3 years, so he said they couldn’t waste time.

Hester reaches out to Independence County leaders and the governor to ask how they can get more time or money for the project.

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