A third-party cost estimate for construction of a new Wright City high school is over $9 million higher than the initial estimate provided by Bond Architects, according to discussion from the Wright …
A third-party cost estimate for construction of a new Wright City high school is over $9 million higher than the initial estimate provided by Bond Architects, according to discussion from the Wright City School Board’s July meeting.
The third-party base bid estimate is about $8 million higher than the initial estimate. The initial estimate was about $43.8 million, while the third party estimate came in at about $51.6 million.
The largest jumps were almost $3 million in contractor fees and almost $5 million in phase one construction of the new high school. The third-party estimate also priced an additional $2.1 million in site work at the high school that was not included in the previous estimate, but Eric Wilson of Bond Architects told the school board that extra work isn’t necessarily going to be included in the project.
The third party estimate was about $1.5 million more than the original estimate for project "alternates," which are facilities that are part of the long-term plan but not immediately necessary.
The projected cost for a completed football stadium jumped about $1.7 million in the third party estimate. Wilson stressed this also is not as big of a jump as the numbers would indicate.
“This looks like a bigger jump than it is because we have some of our grading in our other (cost estimates),” Wilson said. “His is a standalone number.”
The third-party estimate reduced the projected cost of a competition gymnasium by about $1 million.
The school board voiced support for a cafetorium option with more seating at $1 million less in cost. The single-level cafetorium encompasses over 6,700 square feet and seats 500 people in the theater area. The projected cost was over $1.6 million. A cafetorium with tiered levels would have encompassed 11,000 square feet but only seated 360 people. The projected cost was over $2.6 million.
The total projected increase in the third-party estimate was about $9.5 million.
In addition to those cost increases, the school board now also needs to deal with the cost of building a mandatory turn lane on Roelker Road.
Wilson confirmed the requirement will not impact the projected timeline for the project. School District Superintendent Chris Berger said the district is hopeful $350,000 will cover the cost.
Berger stressed the third-party cost estimate is not part of the actual bids for the high school project. This is part of the district’s due diligence to ensure they are not blindsided on the day they receive bids for the project, which is slated for late this year, Berger said.
Berger also noted the district should have more than the targeted number of $54 million available to cover costs of the project. Financial advisory firm Stifel assured the district that since they sold voter-approved bonds at premium value, they would receive more than the anticipated $37 million for Proposition 1967. They also could generate more than $15 million from purchase certificates for Proposition 2025.
“I’d like to get those solid numbers that we can get on paper, because they’re still working off of the target number of $54 million,” Berger said. “But the reality is, we’ve got more resources than that. We’re just not totally certain how much we’re going to have.”
Berger stressed that the district could pull one of the proposed alternates out of the construction package and complete it separately after the main project is completed.
Board secretary David Mikus questioned if, because of the higher than expected estimates, the board should make cuts before the district goes to bid or if they should go out to bid and then make cuts later if necessary.
Berger advised against making cuts and then having bids come in lower than expected. They would then have things off the board that they are not ready to proceed with.
Berger also stressed it was smart for the board to include language in the voter propositions this spring to allow both propositions to help support the core academic housing at the school. They identified potential inflation issues in the early stages of pursuing both propositions, Berger said.
“That was a very wise decision at that time because we can see the writing on the wall that things at that time were trending up,” Berger said. “And that has not bucked yet. Although I’d say it’s flattened somewhat.”
Funding from both ballot issues will go toward construction of a new Wright City High School between Roelker Road and Highway F. It will also go towards renovation of the old high school as an administrative building, renovation of the old administrative building as a second preschool location, and a four-room addition to East Elementary.