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School will cost $1.3-million more

The cost of technology and better air conditioning will be more expensive than school officials anticipated.

The School Board will be asked Wednesday to approve almost $8-million _ $1.3-million more than estimated _ to build Frontier Elementary, which is scheduled to open next year.

The school will be south of East Bay Drive, between U.S. 19 and Belcher Road.

Tony Rivas, school district director of facilities planning and construction, said estimates were too low in some areas, including air conditioning.

Because of concerns over indoor air quality, the Frontier air-conditioning system is designed to handle 15 cubic feet per minute.

In some schools, including Oldsmar Elementary, the air conditioner was designed to handled only 5 cubic feet per minute in order to save money.

But smaller units can mean less fresh air. That was the case at Oldsmar, which closed in December for renovations because of mold and mildew problems.

Frontier also cost more because it is a technological school. As such, it will require more electrical capacity than other schools, Rivas said.

Rawlings Elementary in Pinellas Park, the last elementary to open, cost more than $6-million.

Other construction matters that will be voted on Wednesday include a new roof for the Dixie Hollins High gymnasium ($113,400) and air-conditioning improvements at Oldsmar Elementary ($34,020).

The Dixie Hollins gym was damaged during the no-name storm in March. The cost of the roof will be added to renovations at Dixie Hollins at a price tag of more than $4-million.

Also, Rivas did not guarantee Oldsmar Elementary would be ready for school in August. "I think so," Rivas said. "Hopefully, there will be an announcement soon."

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