An inflation rate hovering close to 8% will likely have a big impact on the Community School District’s construction project. During the Nov. 28 Building Exploratory Committee meeting, school officials reported the estimated renovation and construction project had increased to $98 million which is up 22% from a previous estimate.
Part of the increase is due to a committee decision to include a $3 million middle school addition. Other projected increases are due to likely rising costs from more realistic pricing as the project moves closer to construction.
But the overall price may come down as committee members continue to review the project for possible spending reductions. “We are looking at everything to bring the price down,” Alternative Organizational Structure 98 Superintendent Bob Kahler said. “We are taking a look at the entire project to see what we don’t need in order to reduce costs.”
The committee is still formulating a plan which would construct a new high school, renovate the elementary school and add a middle school wing. The committee is looking to reduce long-term heating costs with a more efficient system. The committee recommends replacing the current HVAC system with a variant refrigerant flow heat pump. Lavallee Brensinger architects Lance Whitehead and Joe Britton described the system as the “most efficient” option. “This will get you closer to the optimum EUI (energy use index). The school is currently at 112 which is higher than average public schools (100). It won’t get you to 23, but it will be close,” Whitehead said.
Kahler reported once plans are finalized, the proposal may need a variance from the Boothbay Harbor planning board. “We may need a variance because our building is 11 inches too high,’ he said.
According to Kahler, the project’s current timeline depends on fundraising and overall cost. Kahler said the plan still has a goal of raising half of the construction cost from private donations. The current timetable is a committee decision in March regarding the proposal, followed by a May vote. “There is still work to be done, and the vote may be pushed back to November,” he said.
The building committee meets next at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20 in the high school library.