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Bids 'a bit high' for new track, but major plans stay the same

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By Andrew Harner

Bids from contractors interested in building the all-weather track at Vandalia Community High School were "a bit higher than expected," but Superintendent Rich Well said he doesn’t believe that will slow down the main construction.

Well said the school hoped to have bids below $500,000, which is how much it received in grant money for the project, so the leftover dollars could be used to purchase pole vault and high jump equipment.

Purchasing that equipment and some of the additional fencing work will likely be put off in order for the demolition and construction of the track to be finished on time.

A final decision is expected to come on Monday when the school board discusses the bids.

“I had some concern on the bids, with the price of oil, but they weren’t bad,” Well said. “I was concerned they’d be through the roof with the track part with what’s going on.”

Bids came in three categories – demolition, fencing and track construction – and the school received at least five bids for every component.

If the bids are approved, demolition of the current cinder track will begin immediately, Well said.

The project was started in early November after the city of Vandalia approved the use of $65,500 in city Tax Increment Financing funds for each of the next five years for the project.

Funding was also secured from the Sports Boosters ($5,000 per year for five years), the school’s operation and maintenance budget ($5,000 per year for five years), Pepsi ($10,000 per year for five years) and the Hazel Simma Kelly Foundation ($15,000 per year for five years).

The current track at VCHS is 60 years old and has forced the high school to exclusively schedule away meets for many years.