SISD finalizes new HS with construction audit

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Construction at the Sherman High School continues in this shot from December. SISD has entered into an agreement with R.L Townsend & Associates for an audit for the high school construction project.

District to pay $54K in completion step

The Sherman Independent School District is starting one of the final steps before the high school construction project is fully complete. Last month, the district approved a $54,000 agreement with R.L. Townsend & Associates to audit the construction, signaling the end for the $157.8 million project.

The letter of engagement for the audit comes as crews will be finishing the final touches of the school project over the summer in anticipation of the start of district's first full year at the new campus. 

"When you complete your project, you want to be sure that you audit the project, which is different from the external audit you do on your budget each year," said Tyson Bennett, SISD assistant superintendent of business and operations.

Under the terms of the agreement, the consulting firm will audit the contracts for the construction to ensure that all payments have been handled correctly.  For this audit, the district wanted a specialized firm to take the final look and ensure everything was in line.

The district released a request for qualifications for the construction in April. One month later, the district announced the R.L. Townsend & Associates was ranked no. 1 for qualifying firms and began the process of creating an agreement for the audit.

Currently, R.L. Townsend & Associates is involved with auditing more than than $8 million of construction projects. Several Texas school districts, including Austin, Carrolton-Farmers Branch, Arlington, Mansfield, Dallas, Plano and Round Rock school districts, among others, are working with the firm.

Unlike other audits, like the annual district audit, these types of examinations are typically reserved for larger bond projects, which are far more infrequent. The last time the district issued bonds prior to the new school construction was about 15 years ago, Bennett said.

Despite some delays, the high school opened for students in January for the spring semester. At the time, construction was still ongoing on some parts of the campus. However, the only remaining items left to complete over the summer months are mostly punch-list items, Bennett said.