On July 18, 2019 the architectural firm, Dore & Whittier, was slated to reveal associated rough costs on new school(s) buildings– such as construction costs, swing space costs, and eligible reimbursables– with the School Building Committee. (See summary of City Council requests July 9, 2019 here.) The meetings are public. Associated costs were not transparent for the public. Instead a dollar sign rating system was illlustrated pictorially, like so:
Why were rough estimate details cut from the presentation? A few reasons were provided, namely “MSBA does not look kindly” on public disclosure because
- The MSBA aims to have the best possible build based on educatioal needs and goals rather than cost. Publishing amounts can taint the bidding or decision making.
- The public may be too attached to numbers they hear and/or be confused because of the (lengthy) timeline. By the time shovels hit the dirt the final bids will be different.
Other districts post all associated costs, why not Gloucester? Why are the design/build firms awarded these contracts charged with bidding out the cost evaluations on projects, especially ones greater than 5 million? Why assume this process is the only way to go about it?
Michele Rogers with Dore & Whittier announced that there were “no surprises” following review of the cost estimate comparisons. “Eliminations were easy; the most expensive were eliminated.” She concluded that this presentation was the second and final per their contract for services related to this Feasibility Study Phase. [This one feasibility study phase contract total cost is: $569,075 ($284,296 for the feasibility study and $275,704 for the future schematic design. One environmental study add on is $9075). Requests for a breakdown of all studies and plans related to new schools–at least since 2012– have gone unanswered by the school committee and architectural firm.]
The next step is to compile and deliver submission to the MSBA, the state agency tasked with reviewing Gloucester’s application for new schools.
Q. Next steps? “Submittal allows us to do geotechnical site evaluation and other necessary investigations (like traffic and environmental studies), and more design. Submittal helps us narrow down and leave behind areas we won’t bother with as we know…We’ll need to tighten the building design and handle specialized pieces. We’ll proceed from 9 options to 6 very quickly. ”
Q. What is the submission? “It’s a thick binder, maybe 10- inches thick, with all our reports to date, the educational program narrative, the space summaries approved earlier, etc.” Will the MSBA require a presentation? “No. The MSBA will review the binders within a two week turn around; then we have a two week turn around to respond.” Dunn commented to make sure the City see that. The MSBA will decide on November 13th or November 20th whether to make a recommendation to allow this proposal to proceed to the next phase: schematic design. “Or they’ll push back and request more information.” The MSBA “will not require more work on many options as the scoring was so low. They’ll be concentrating on the top 3 or 4 options.”
Tom Ellis was present related to a staff change; Roger who managed the design phase is moving out of state so the team for Gloucester will need to be reorganized. They met with MSBA July 17, 2019 to discuss this change. (Was someone from the city at the meeting?) Chris Tremblay will be assisting. “MSBA doesn’t like surprises,” Ellis remarked.
The costs and application should be public before it’s forwarded to the state. Chairman Jonathan Pope said he’d forward the pricing.
Double click on pictures to enlarge the slides for the “East Gloucester Elementary School Building Committee 7.18.19″. Color coding continues as in yellow = East Gloucester; Blue = Vets; and Green = Green Street area.
And the winner (high scoring) is…
one location at Vets and both at Green
“By October we’ll be back on schedule. Yes, MSBA has seen the schedule and is pleased.”
Reminder! Community meeting July 25 6:30 PM
How did we get here?
Catch up posts, documents, links related to Gloucester’s school committee new school buildings/consolidation process: Continue reading “Dore & Whittier School consolidation plans & costs heading to MSBA August 1, 2019”