LABELLE -- Higher than expected renovation costs for a two-story building at the Clewiston Sub Office the Hendry County School District had hoped to renovate has pushed the school board to consider other options for the 1939 former high school which sits vacant, slowly being devoured by termites.
The school district had hoped to convert the building into space for school employees on the second floor and a career center on the ground floor. It had already lined up CareerSource South Florida as a potential tenant pending the renovations.
The district had previously estimated the cost of repairs between $500,000 to $700,000 which had been set aside for the school district’s capital projects.
That all changed with the $1.4 million estimate provided by Jay Ammon, Hendry County Schools’ architect, who undertook a thorough investigation of the structure.
“That’s a bit more than double than the estimation we had presented to you on Aug. 3,” Superintendent Michael Swindle told the school board during its regular meeting Sept. 21.
“With this new information comes a new direction in my mind,” he said. “We are not flush with cash as you remember from our last meeting.”
Swindle offered four options, one of which was to move forward with the $1.4 million renovation, something he said he could not support.
The other three options included taking no action and leaving the building as, is seeking historical restoration grants or demolishing the building at a cost of $58,000.
In any case, the building has to be tented for termite fumigation, which pose a danger not only to the building itself but neighboring structures.
Tenting will cost $6,500, Swindle said, and will be undertaken at once no matter which decision board members chose.
The board unanimously voted to take no action on the building while it seeks historical renovation grants.