Town officials fear the Bancroft Elementary School project could run up to $5 million over budget because construction costs increased while the town settled a lawsuit with two neighbors.
The project is already $2.7 million over with only 60 percent of the construction bids being awarded, according to town officials.
Construction of the $44.7 million new school started this summer. About 15 percent of the building is complete.
Tom Deso, School Building Committee chairman, said bids have been coming in higher than expected due to the project being delayed by about a year over a lawsuit filed by two neighbors of the school.
He said the committee was originally hoping to go to bid in the middle of 2011, during a “stagnant construction market.”
“It was a very flat market in 2011,” Deso said. “I think we would have seen more competition, but we can’t prove that.”
Town officials emphasized that the increased cost of the construction is a result of a tough bidding climate and not because anything was added to design of the school. About $3.5 million already has been taken out of the original design of the school through value engineering, Deso said.
“The situation we find ourselves in is no fault of our own,” Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski said.
– Jonathan Phelps
For more information on this story, see the Nov. 17 Eagle-Tribune and the Nov. 22 Andover Townsman.