Changes from Original Projects
Medford School District 549C
Building Improvement Task Force
Options for Board Consideration
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Review of Changes from the Original Proposed Projects:
In January 2007 the District began a more thorough process for finalizing the scope of renovations and new construction at North and South Medford High Schools. The Districtís new Facility Manager brought his experience in facilities management and his training as a licensed professional engineer to this task and provided the District with a level of expertise it was lacking during the initial development of the bond measure. Engineering assessments for the North High facility revealed that the current buildings were in much better structural condition than the District originally believed. This information led to the reconsideration of the plans for North High reducing the anticipated cost of renovations to an estimated $34 million. These renovations will include upgrades to the HVAC (Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning) system, improved day-lighting, hazardous material removal, floor replacement, re-roofing, ADA and security upgrades, underground piping replacement, and improvements to site drainage.
Meanwhile, it was becoming clear that the original budget for a new South High facility was significantly underestimated. The original construction cost estimate, provided by a reputable consulting firm, had been adjusted down when the budget was developed, and adequate inflation factors were not applied. In addition, the original budget did not include the costs of wetlands mitigation, site improvements, P.E./Athletic fields, parking, street upgrades, and traffic lights. A more thorough programming and design process also indicated the original building concept was slightly undersized. All of these factors led to an estimated shortfall of more than $19 million for this project alone.
While District staff remained determined to identify all possible cost-saving measures, most notably by internally managing many projects, thus avoiding costly contractor and consultant mark-up feeds, it was becoming clear that cost saving measures alone would likely not close the gap between needs and funding. The Districtís new Chief Financial Officer had already determined that the bond proposal did not include the cost of issuing the bonds. While he recommended that this cost (estimated to be about $1.5 million) could be funded if the District carefully invested bond proceeds during the construction process, he also recommended that some of the bond projects be broken into smaller parts so that should the budgets become too tight, the District could strategically contain costs without diminishing the benefit of the renovations. His experience as Chief Financial Officer in districts both smaller and much larger than the Medford School District greatly advantaged the District as it put its first issue for $40 million in general obligation bonds out on the bond market.
District staff continued a more thorough and comprehensive assessment of the remaining projects. In late-May 2007 the District received engineering assessments of two of the anticipated renovation projects. DCI Engineers determined that significant portions of Jackson and Roosevelt Elementary Schools were unsafe and strongly recommended discontinuing the use of those sites until the buildings could be significantly renovated.
The reports for the two schools noted that the masonry materials used in the original 1911 portions of the buildings were incorrectly manufactured and would most likely fail should a significant seismic event occur. Furthermore, the reports cautioned that the truss systems in the gymnasiums would likely collapse under the weight of a large snowfall or significant wind storm. These reports when coupled with a recent state seismic study of public school buildings heightened the Districtís concern about student and staff safety at Jackson and Roosevelt schools.
The District took swift action. It closed the schools and relocated students to other District facilities. The subsequent assessments of these two projects resulted in the upward adjustment of the budgets from about $7.7 million to about $13 million for each school. This added an estimated $10.5 million to the total cost of the bond projects. Unless the scope of the projects is significantly altered, this amount, when coupled with the challenges described above, pushes the overall cost of all bond projects beyond the boundaries of what is fiscally manageable.
While the District is confident in the quality and integrity of the assessments conducted by DCI Engineers, concern raised by community members has prompted the District to seek an additional structural assessment of both Jackson and Roosevelt. The results of this additional professional opinion will be reported to the School Board and community when they are available. The School Board will consider these assessments as it makes its final decision.
Review of Completed and Scheduled Projects
Review of Changes from the Original Proposed Projects
Description of Task Force Activities
Summary of Task Force Options
Comment on Task Force Options