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Cost of Washington-Lee High School: Beyond $100 Million?

One of the handouts at the School Board's budget worksession this evening (Adobe required) was an internal memo, dated April 21, 2005, from staff to the Superintendent "forwarding updated information regarding the project schedule and probable project cost for Washington-Lee (High School) reconstruction." The memo went on to say, "Since the CIP was approved in June 2004, the estimated cost for the W-L reconstruction project has increased from $82,838,462 to $95,238,500. This represents an increase of $12,400,038, or 15% . . . Although there are adjustments to construction and soft cost estimates, $12.3 million (99.9%) of the total project cost increase is due to escalating costs for construction." For the record, last fall, voters approved (with 80.3% approving) a $78.1 million school bond referenda that included $72.7 million for constructing a new W-L. More details about can be found in the Schools Fiscal Year 2005-2010 Capital Improvement Plan (Adobe required). School Board members seemed opposed to putting another bond issue on the 2006 ballot because it would raise a "credibility issue" with the community. The Superintendent noted that everybody understands the problem of rising costs, and, further, there seems no desire to reduce the scope of the project. When Board members turned to the possibility of setting aside windfalls and other one-time revenues into a capital reserve account, school staff reminded them this represents "borrowing from the community." Stay tuned for more information.

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