RISD consulting firm for bond issue served taxpayers well
Thursday’s school board meeting marked the end of the formal relationship between the Rockdale ISD and LAN (formerly LAN-Walton), the consulting firm which oversaw bond project construction of new schools.

The meeting saw many “verbal high fives” and all were well deserved.

Those complex projects are essentially over, although some minor warranty issues remain, and they’ve been skillfully, even artfully, administered by all concerned.

Go back to spring, 2007, when school district voters were deciding whether to approve the ambitious project to construct a new intermediate school, remodel and expand the high school, add a wing to the junior-high and renovate the elementary cafeteria.

There were plenty of questions asked in public forums and in letters to the editor. The biggest one was whether the school’s experts—that’s LAN—could accurately estimate construction costs.

And the answer was a resounding “yes.”

LAN representative J. P. Grom told board members Thursday $7,365 was being returned to the district from the $28.8-million bond issue.

(Well over $30 million was actually spent because the bond money was handled in such a way as to generate substantial interest.)

That’s quite an accomplishment. As always in a project this size there are “speed bumps” and that certainly happened here, most notably in the cost of food service equipment for the new elementary cafeteria.

But LAN brought the project to completion “in the black.” RISD taxpayers should certainly appreciate that effort.

Another person drawing praise, and a standing ovation, Thursday was former Supt. Walter Pond, who stayed on as a project consultant to guide the program home.

Board members noted the irony, that the new buildings went up almost literally as Alcoa “went down,” closing its Rockdale smelter.

But the bottom line is this. Rockdale now has a new much-needed source of pride and got it.

With every penny accounted for.—M.B.

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2010-01-28 digital edition

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