Silver Creek faces delay in high school renovations

Dec. 5—SELLERSBURG — The start of building renovations at Silver Creek High School has been delayed as the school district seeks new contractors for the project.

The district is looking to receive new bids before beginning the high school renovations. Silver Creek Board President Chris Rountree said the district is facing a delay of about six months after the board ended a previous contract for the project.

The project involves significant updates and additions to Silver Creek High School, including new classrooms, new labs, a new student union, a new main entrance, an expanded cafeteria and a new auditorium.

Construction is underway to update outdoor facilities at the Silver Creek campus, including infrastructure and outdoor facilities.

Originally, the district was aiming to start work on the high school building by the end of this year, but the Silver Creek school board moved in late September to terminate its contract with Skillman Corp., an Indianapolis-based construction company that was originally slated to lead the high school renovation.

Skillman's construction estimate was $10 million over budget for the project, and the school board is looking for ways to save money by going a different direction, according to Rountree.

Rountree cited concerns about the lack of competitive bids. In Skillman's package for the high school renovations, there were only one or two bidders for each section, and there were very few local bidders on the list.

"We're going through right now to try and identify ways we could potentially save some taxpayer dollars," he said.

Silver Creek is partnering with Shireman Construction, a Corydon-based company, to move forward with a bid package. The goal is for the high school renovation projects to go out to bid in early 2023.

Silver Creek Superintendent Chad Briggs said the district anticipates entering into a contract with Shireman for the construction project, but it is not in place yet. He believes "going a different direction will produce better results."

Briggs said work will begin as soon as the district has contractors in place, and if bids can be approved by March, there could potentially be some activity by the end of the year.

Although the timeline has shifted, the scope has not changed for the high school renovations, he said.

"As we receive new information, we'll make decisions accordingly," Briggs said. "We'll get there, but it will take a little time."

The ongoing renovations to outdoor facilities at Silver Creek began in the summer. Crews have already moved the transportation parking area and parent pickup area at the elementary, and work is ongoing for the relocation and rebuilding of athletic facilities.

It will be about a year until the first phase of projects is complete, Rountree said.

The new football stadium is expected to be open in time for the first game next school year, and the baseball and softball fields will likely be open in the 2023-24 school year, he said.

Skillman Construction is the construction manager for the infrastructure and athletic facility projects.

Silver Creek High School is "bursting at the seams" in terms of capacity, Rountree said, and he emphasizes the need for the renovation of the building, which was built in the early 1960s.

"The ultimate goal is still the same — to provide the facilities that our students and staff deserve and that they are needing," Rountree said.

The district-wide Silver Creek renovations are projected to cost about $100 million, and they also include updates to the middle and primary school. The district has already sold $55 million in bonds for the renovations, and an additional $42 million in bonds have been approved.