ADVERTISEMENT

Residents in the Tonawanda City School District are upset over a dramatic increase in expected expenses for what was planned as an $11.9 million capital project that will force changes to the overall plan.

About 30 community members attended a forum Thursday night in Tonawanda High/Middle School that outlined the problem.

At this point, district officials believe their capital project will cost about $730,000 more than originally anticipated.

While construction for the new Clint Small Stadium and athletic campus will continue, bids for renovations and additions to the high school/middle school building came in about $450,000 more than expected.

The district wanted to include a new wing for music classes in the planned addition, but it appears that might be a casualty of the higher costs.

Combined with the additional expenses caused by replacing the roof on Mullen Elementary School, officials learned this week they couldn’t afford everything on their wish list.

Members of the School Board were not happy when they listened to the news during their regular meeting Tuesday. Thursday’s forum provided the community an opportunity to express their displeasure.

“It was contentious at times,” Superintendent James Newton said of the meeting. “The community seems pretty upset at the overbid.”

The district is considering three options in order to move forward: ask the community for more money, proceed with a redesigned addition to the high school/middle school or simply renovate the existing music rooms at the building.

Newton believes the community is leaning toward the latter, as it may free up additional funding to include safety and technology updates to the building.

“The first option is out of the question,” Newton said. “We’re not asking the public for more money.”

The board will discuss the issue further during a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the library at Tonawanda High/Middle School.