DARIEN — Despite the setback incurred to the Darien High School cafeteria expansion project when a power line was found buried too close to where construction was to begin this spring, the expansion has again taken a step forward.

On May 17, the Board of Finance approved $262,000 to be bonded that will allow the Board of Education to fund the excavation and reburial of the line, before the existing cafeteria is renovated and the addition begins later this summer.

The total will hopefully cover the additional costs realized when the line was found, but was less than the $336,000 cost originally estimated by the Cafeteria Building Committee, because the Board of Finance chose to dip into the project’s contingency that the committee hoped to preserve.

“This is outside of scope. And so when something like this happens part of the funding for whatever this is ought to come from contingency. We would hope that the contingency would’ve covered everything, but, you know, it didn’t.” said Board of Finance Chairman Jon Zagrodzky.

The contingency for the original $1.6 million project was $93,310 and, at the time of the meeting, had been depleted to 85,924. An additional contingency of $19,325 had been requested by the building committee for the work to move the power line. Zagrodzky proposed that the additional contingency be eliminated, and that $59,635 of the original contingency be used toward the additional costs.

The result is a $257,000 appropriation (raised to $262,000 because of bond issuance fees), and a contingency reduced to $26,289.

“That’s enough to cover any of the overages that we’re discussing here. And if the rest of the project starts to go over, the reality is we have a Board of Finance contingency that we can go to without an RTM (Representative Town Meeting) appropriation if we really need to go over that,” Zagrodzky said.

According to Jill McCammon, the work to excavate and move the power lines should begin on June 25 and hopefully finish by late july. The renovation of the existing cafeteria space is scheduled to wrap on Aug. 17, with work on the expansion to begin shortly after and hopefully end in mid-November.

“The intention is not to impact any function of the school,” McCammon said.

The RTM will vote on the bonding at its June 11 meeting.

justin.papp@scni.com; @justinjpapp1; 203-842-2586