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How much should the high school rebuild cost?

 
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Ellen
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Joined: 15 May 2004
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Location: Oak Ridge, Tennessee

PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 12:03 pm    Post subject: How much should a new high school cost? Reply with quote

Knox County's recent announcement of plans to build a new high school in northwest Knox County at an estimated cost of $36 million (including the cost of the land) have caused some people to wonder why the ORHS rebuild proposal costs so much more ($56M at last estimate).

I figure it's safe to assume that the difference is due to some combination of larger building and higher construction cost per square foot. (Higher construction cost probably translates to more facilities.) It's also possible that Knox County has not developed its estimates in as much detail as Oak Ridge, and may end up looking at a higher cost than they now project. Wink

A quick tour of the web gives some clues into the influence of different cost factors, and confirms my notion that both size and unit cost may be involved. http://www.schoolclearinghouse.org/asps/specs.asp?dsp=260-4145 gives specs for a North Carolina high school that was completed a few years and was designed for a similar number of students (ORHS is supposed to be sized for 1700, and this other school lists a design capacity of 1625 and core capacity of 1750 -- no, I don't know what the different types of capacity are). The total size of the school is 276,000 square feet, which is noticeably less than the 375,000 sq ft figure being discussed here. Building cost was just $98.12, a good deal less than the $120 being quoted here, but this was built long enough ago that it may not be fair to compare. However, another North Carolina school described at http://www.schoolclearinghouse.org/asps/specs.asp?dsp=920-4370 was bid in 2002 at a cost of just $81.20 per square foot. That school also is smaller than our proposal, but not by much (332,470 sq ft), for a design capacity of 1345 and a core capacity of 1819 students. Another North Carolina high school designed for 1500 students has 275,000 square feet.

The North Clackamas High School in Oregon is touted as a green design (something Oak Ridge is looking to do in the ORHS rebuild Smile ). It cost $116 per square foot, which was considered low for Oregon (where costs may be higher than in Tennessee). The 265,355-square-foot school is supposed to accommodate 1,800 students.

The proposed size of the rebuilt ORHS may be more typical of schools in other parts of the country that traditionally invest more in public education (and whose kids many of us want our Oak Ridge kids to be able to compete with in their future lives Wink ). I have learned that my home town (in Connecticut) is talking about building a new middle school with a size of 197,000 square feet to accommodate 1,165 students. Since middle schools are typically smaller than high schools, this is in the same ball park as building a 375,000 sq ft high school for 1700 students. (The construction costs of that Connecticut school are not relevant to Oak Ridge, since that region normally has much higher materials costs and construction wage rates. That 197,000-sq-ft middle school is estimated at $54 million. Shocked )

All this information underlines my view that the school board and City Council should look at the details of the ORHS proposal in an effort to reduce the overall cost without sacrificing the overall positive impact of the project. Smile


Last edited by Ellen on Wed Aug 04, 2004 12:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ellen
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Joined: 15 May 2004
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Location: Oak Ridge, Tennessee

PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a cautionary note related to that middle school in my home town. This is an excerpt from a news story about the project:
Quote:
due to the demand for building materials in both Iraq and China, the cost of construction supplies has in some cases risen up to 40 percent, leading to the increased cost of the school Shocked
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Ellen
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Location: Oak Ridge, Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2004 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An article in today's Knoxville News-Sentinel indicates that the $36 million figure probably understates the cost of the new Knox County high school:
Quote:
Superintendent Charles Lindsey said at last week's school board meeting that $36 million would probably be the "bare minimum" for a new high school and that, including construction costs, a new school could run $42 million-$43 million.
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