School Maintenance Projects Face Unanticipated Costs

Almost all bonded school maintenance projects extending out to 2027 are under way, with several having been completed this summer, Business Administrator Peter Curro reported to the Budget Committee.

Of the 13 projects detailed in his report, only improvements to the high school roof and kitchen renovations at the high school have yet to commence, with Phases four and six of the roof construction scheduled to begin in 2016.

Kitchen renovations at the high school started earlier this week, with an anticipated budget of $41,000, and an original budget of $100,000.

One of the more significant challenges the District has faced during construction is repairs to roof damage discovered at the high school. Curro said the shingles near the band room were affected by ice dams, which cause wood on the roof to curl out.

Where the District was able to save money on roof repairs at the middle school, the project overall is anticipated to come in on budget at $2.2 million, as a result of the higher cost to address water damage to the high school roof.

So far, roof repairs at the high school have cost the District $747,963. It’s anticipated the repairs will require an additional $1.4 million to complete.

Also in progress are paving projects at the middle and high schools. Reconstruction of the middle school parking lot, which Facilities Director Chuck Zappala anticipates will be complete in time for Old Home Day at the middle of August, has cost the District $49,537, with a projected balance to complete of $390,000.

In addition to the roof repairs at the high school, the District also ran into unanticipated costs to complete the press box at the high school. Although they were able to save money on donated bricks and labor for the press box and concession stand, the District ran into about $30,000 of unanticipated electrical upgrades.

Where the District anticipated about $8,000 to $10,000 for electrical upgrades, the final cost came in between $30,000 and $35,000.

“Everything had to be updated because there was not enough power for the area,” Committee Chairman Ted Combes said. “We were already over usage with the old press box. The new press box is actually smaller in size than it was before.”

In total, the District had expended $364,112 for the press box as of July 7. The project is about 90 percent complete, and the District anticipates a $30,000 balance to complete the press box renovations.

Paving at Matthew Thornton Elementary School came in slightly under budget at $598,235, where the original budget was $600,000.

The District-wide contingency – the amount the District budgets for unanticipated costs for scheduled projects under the $4 million Maintenance Bond – was budgeted at $125,000, and is anticipated to come in at $39,506.

To date, Curro told the Committee $1.9 million of the $4 million bond has been expended for the various projects through July 7. He said he anticipates the District will expend an additional $2 million to wrap up all the scheduled improvements.

Moving forward, Curro said the bond end dates – the dates on which various bonds for the projects will fall off – are 2017, 2022, 2025 and 2027.

The Budget Committee was satisfied with the report and is convinced the District is doing everything possible to keep costs for the improvements and repairs on budget, according to Combes.

He noted the many things that have been out of the District’s control, such as the ice dams on the high school roof and the need for electrical upgrades for the press box.