“We’re very hopeful that a significant amount of the contingency will end up not being used, and that will reduce the cost,” he said.
TRIM $5 MILLION
Construction projects can use a process known as “value management,” where design decisions are made to use less expensive items to save money on the project. Last year, the committee went through such a process to save around $2 million, but there is no longer any room to do so, according to Deso.
“We’ve spent months of meetings going over the value management,” Deso said. “We really think we took everything we could reasonably take.”
One item taken out under value management was the school’s playground. That will be added back to the project at a cost of about $100,000 if the extra money is approved, Deso said.
ELIMINATE GREEN ITEMS FROM PROJECT
As part of construction, the town is taking extra measures to chase Leaders in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Some possible changes to the project under value management would have an impact on the USGBC’s score when it reviews the building to certify it once completed. That’s something the committee wants to avoid, in part because being a LEED Silver school will allow the town to receive energy rebates.
“It’s going to be a significant milestone for the town,” Deso said.
While some of the measures to make the building as green as possible have also driven up construction costs, there is a return on the investment in the form of longterm energy savings, such as annual heating costs, Deso said.
CUT YOUR LOSSES,
AND DON’T BUILD
With money already borrowed and spent, this would be the most unwise course, according to Deso.
“We’re about 25 percent complete. We’ve already paid I don’t know how many millions of dollars,” said Deso, who later reported the town has spent more. “The foundation is done. The steel is up on the building. They’re starting to pour concrete (this week) on the floors. The cost of demolishing the building and putting that land back to where it was will be substantially more than what we’re asking for, with additional funding.”