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Bids for new Chesapeake Elementary come in under budget

CHESAPEAKE-- Chesapeake Elementary School students have a reason to smile: they will have a new school building this time next year.

School officials are no doubt smiling too: when the bids were opened late last week, those bids came in some $400,000 under budget.

Superintendent Sam Hall said he thought the reason for the good news was that there are no major projects slated to start in this area in the near future-- many local districts started or completed building projects last year. So contractors who want the job are willing to hand in very competitive bids in an effort to win the contract.

"I'm real excited," Hall said. "Several alternates were put into the project and it appears we could now take a closer look at some of those alternate things. This gives us breathing room, so we don't come up short on money."

More than 20 bidders submitted proposals. The bids were taken to Columbus for review by the Ohio School Facilities Commission before a best bid is accepted.

"I'm glad this part of the process is over so we can start moving into the construction phase," Hall said. "We want to get it out of the ground before bad weather hits."

The new school will be built on the site of the old elementary school near the U.S. 52 off ramp. Local officials hope construction can start by the end of September. The targeted completion date is early 2005. Ground was broken in May on the $9 million project.