USD 475 Receives Federal Grant to Offset Rising Construction Costs

New Elementary School Entrance

Geary County Unified School District 475 has received a supplemental grant from the Office of Local Defense Communities Cooperation to continue construction of an elementary school on Fort Riley. The award of additional funding was announced October 26.

The district applied for supplemental funding from the Department of Defense’s Public Schools on Military Installations program to remedy rising costs on its project to replace Jefferson Elementary School.

“The original grant proposal captured an industry forecast cost escalation for the period between grant application and job bidding,” said David Wild, USD 475 construction program manager. “However, bid results indicated an 18.5 percent cost escalation, well above the 3-5 percent industry forecast.”

District and Fort Riley staff received a formal invitation from the OLDCC to submit a supplemental application at the end of June.

“With expert guidance from OLDCC, we were able to present sound market evidence of rising prices beyond our control and were invited to submit a package addressing our concerns,” said Superintendent Reginald Eggleston, Ed.D.

The district has submitted another similar grant proposal to expand the new school and replace Morris Hill Elementary. The OLDCC plans to review it in November.

According to Wild, if the review is favorable, the district will be invited to submit a grant. If the grant is awarded, Morris Hill Elementary will be demolished while construction continues to expand the new school, which will still open in August 2023.