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Seven-Figure Savings Achieved on Bedford County’s Cartwright Elementary Project

Jeff Sweeney, owners’ representative for Bedford County government construction projects, reported to the county’s Financial Management Committee on Tuesday night, Jan. 23, that the county has achieved more than $1 million in savings on the new Cartwright Elementary School under construction on the north side of Shelbyville.

“I think we’ve really done a good job of being stewards of the county’s money,” said Sweeney earlier in the day.

The new elementary school was designed by Kline-Swinney Associates, the county’s architectural firm, and is being built by Bell Construction under a guaranteed maximum price arrangement.

For a large construction project of this type, the budget normally includes a contingency fund to cover unexpected expenses. There are many such expenses that can pop up during such a large project. The $39 million Cartwright Elementary project included a contingency fund. Because of the savings that have been achieved, the county, the architect, and the contractor have agreed to lower that contingency fund by $1,036,000, putting that money back into the county’s coffers and benefiting the taxpayers.

Kline-Swinney had already agreed to release $80,000 of its design contingency fund back to the county, over and above the $1,036,000.

Some of the savings which have been achieved were the result of

  • Repricing of products needed for the project;
  • Renegotiated the price of the steel needed for the project; and
  • Finding suitable soil on site that could be used to replace unsuitable soil, thus avoiding the purchase of stone as a filler.

“All of these savings come directly back to the taxpayer,” said Sweeney.

Bell Construction’s contract with the county guaranteed a maximum price that could not be exceeded. The company was to share any savings with the county – but there’s even more good news on that front, as the county was able to negotiate Bell’s shared savings from $420,000 down to $270,000, resulting in $150,000 to the county.

“It’s been a whole team approach,” said Sweeney, praising Bell Construction and Kline-Swinney. “How can we save the county money?”

Sweeney estimated that the building’s exterior is about 90 percent complete, and the interior is about 50 percent complete. The interior of the building is now under a running heating and air conditioning system, and a first coat of asphalt has been laid at the site. Primary access to the new school will be from Calsonic Way so as not to overburden Fairfield Pike.

The school system is currently scheduled to get the keys to the facility on June 10, a month earlier than first scheduled. The school will begin hosting students and classes this fall.

Lucky Knott

Lucky Knott

One of Southern Tennessee's most experienced and recognized news broadcasters and play-by-play sportscasters. News and Sports Director for Rooster 101.5 FM, 93.9 The Duck and Whiskey Country 105.1, and 95.9. He is currently the play-by-play voice of the Coffee County Red Raiders (31 years) on The Rooster 101.5 and can be heard M-F broadcasting our local news. Lucky has done play-by-play for 3,932 (and counting) sports events on Radio & TV. He also served four years as the Public Information Officer for the Coffee Co. Sheriff's Dept. and taught Radio/TV for six years at Grundy County High School.

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