A renovation and expansion project slated in 2012 for George Washington Middle School in Brookfield-Lyons District 103 could cost over $1 million more than initially proposed, based on cost estimates handed the school board by its architectural firm on Oct. 24.

The entire extra cost comes from a second addition to be constructed on the east wing of the school, which would house a new kitchen/foodservice receiving area. In addition, the new plan calls for the school’s auditorium to be converted into a multipurpose room that will become the cafeteria.

Architect Carole Pugh of Deerfield-based architects, Green Associates, estimated that the addition will cost $1.4 million to complete.

“I still think this is the best configuration for what we’re trying to accomplish here,” said District 103 Superintendent Michael Warner.

Back in July, the board agreed to a $5.2 million renovation/addition project to be funded in part by a bond issuance of up to $3 million. The board at that time passed an ordinance stating their intent to issue those bonds.

That initial plan focused on three separate areas, moving some of the school’s administrative offices and the alternative school to the north end of the building; building a new 6,450-square-foot classroom addition onto the south wing and reconfiguring some spaces around the small gym and auditorium to create a larger lunch room and expanded kitchen.

In July, the cost to complete that plan was pegged at $5.2 million.

Subsequently, Pugh went back to the drawing board and came back this fall with a plan that scrapped the kitchen/lunchroom expansion in favor of a new 5,970-square-foot addition to the east wing that would make foodservice deliveries more efficient and create a more coherent multipurpose/lunch room. The initial plan called for lunch seating in the gym to be expanded onto the stage and seating areas of the auditorium.

Right now, lunch deliveries have to be wheeled through the building to the kitchen near the small gym. The new configuration would allow deliveries right to the kitchen.

While Warner said he believes the district can handle funding the new plan by using additional cash reserves, the final decision is up to the school board.

“It’s my opinion we could spend down to close to $3 million of the existing fund balance,” Warner said, “so it’d be $6 million when it’s all said and done.”

Spending $3 million out of the existing fund balance would bring the district’s cash reserves down to $10 million. The district’s annual operating budget is about $28 million.

Some cost savings could be found, said Warner, by eliminating an 850-square-foot, roughly $200,000 storage area that would house cafeteria tables when the multipurpose room would be used for other purposes. The board could also decide to take a pass on some $240,000 in parking lot improvements that are programmed into the plan.

If the board decides to move ahead on the newest proposal, said Warner, the entire project would probably be split into two separate bids. The south classroom addition and north wing renovation would be bid in January in order to complete construction by the start of the 2012-13 school year.

The east wing kitchen/receiving area addition would be bid later. The hope, said, Warner, would be to complete the east addition during the 2012-13 school year.

Decisions on how exactly to move forward with the bid process will likely be made at the board’s meeting on Dec. 12.

District 103 and George Washington Middle School serve the southeast quarter of Brookfield.