The Silver City Schoolhouse rebuilding is dragging on, but with the involvement of a new contractor, residents are holding out hope work may begin soon.
"Our hopes are pretty high and our feedback that we get from the county is good," said Theo McCormick, chairman of the Silver City Town Board.
County Manager Donna Kristaponis said the insurance company has agreed that Bison Construction Co. will be the new contractor after Alternative Service Concepts rejected Reyman Brothers' bid of $800,000 as too expensive.
"Bison has worked a lot with insurance companies," Kristaponis said. "They were able to articulate why changes in the design of the building were necessary, either due to building code changes or that it would be more costly to do it exactly the same way."
The rebuilding of the historic schoolhouse has been slowed by disagreements among the architect, Cathexes Inc., the insurance carrier, Alternative Service Concepts, and Lyon County officials. The schoolhouse, which was used as the town's community center, burned July 7, 2004. Lyon County workers using soldering irons while installing air conditioning units caused the blaze.
Kristaponis said Bison was seeking bids of subcontractors, but could not give a date when construction would begin.
McCormick said the residents of Silver City - who were very involved with the rebuilding plans, the archaeological dig around the building and the cataloging of artifacts - would be disappointed if work didn't begin by the two-year anniversary of the fire.
"We're basically planning pitchforks and torches for the anniversary," McCormick said. "It would go a long way if they can get a backhoe up there and scratch a hole in the ground before then. Nothing's happened in two years."
McCormick said that residents were happy with what they heard from Bison's John Martin at their meeting earlier this week.
"This is where we wanted to be a long time ago," he said. "But the bottom line is, nothing is going to move until the insurance company cuts loose with the money."
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.