The Oak Ridge City Council had agreed to use $150,000 in red-light camera money to repair the lead-based paint on the city’s Preschool, but the low bid came in significantly lower—$24,700, Public Works Director Gary Cinder said Monday.
The five bids ranged up to about $112,000, Cinder told the Oak Ridge City Council.
The low bidder has done some of this type of work at the Preschool before, Cinder said.
The work is expected to be done by this fall. It provides what officials hope will be a temporary fix while they develop a plan to permanently repair, replace, or move the Preschool.
The repairs, which could be done by August 3, were approved by City Council in February.
Officials say the Preschool building needs to be renovated or vacated for the Head Start program to receive federal funding in the 2015-2016 school year. They are hopeful that their plan to fix the lead-based paint on the decades-old home of the Preschool by early August will satisfy federal officials. A remediation plan was expected to be submitted to federal officials and Anderson County education officials by March 4.
During its February meeting, the City Council also endorsed a recommendation from the Oak Ridge Board of Education that could have children in a new building by the 2016-2017 school year. That resolution called for further study of options for the Oak Ridge Preschools and Robert J. Smallridge School Administration Building on New York Avenue, and it set up a joint city-schools committee.
The Preschool building is owned by the city, and the municipal staff will lead the repair project. The Preschool is used by about 200 students, including those in the Head Start program.
An inspection last year by the health and safety manager of Anderson County Head Start found flaking lead-based paint on the building’s exterior.
Several options have been considered for the Preschool, including repairing the current building, constructing a new facility, leasing a new home for the preschool (or using a lease-purchase option), and splitting up the Preschool among the city’s elementary schools. The last option has been largely ruled out.
Officials say the 70-year-old Preschool and SAB Building, built as a temporary structure during World War II and once known as Pine Valley School, has about reached the end of its useful life.