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New Washington-Lee High School Heading Quickly Past $100 Million?

Within the past month, we growled several times about the rising construction cost of the new Washington-Lee High School. The most recent involved an increase of $12 million in the estimated cost. More bad news for Arlington taxpayers is likely on the way. Today's Virginian-Pilot reports that bids for Chesapeake's new high school "has come in $2 million higher than budgeted for, even after cost-cutting design tweaks . . . The low bid came only after changes were made in plans for the facility, administrators told board members." Examples of that cost-cutting: "A stained concrete floor was substituted for more expensive but longer-lasting terrazzo . . . The number of tennis courts was reduced from 12 to eight." The school was budgeted to cost $52.3 million, but the bids came in at $54.3 million. The school will have a capacity of 2,400, compared to Washington-Lee's 1,600. Will the Arlington School Board make any design changes to reduce the cost of W-L, or will they find it easier to off-load the higher costs onto the backs of Arlington's taxpayers?

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