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School Board briefed on construction cost increase for WBHS renovations/additions

The Roanoke County School Board was briefed on increased construction costs for the William Byrd High School renovations project at their work session on June 1. Final guaranteed prices were recently received and upped the cost of the project.

Proposed changes to WBHS front entrance

RCPS Director of Facilities and Operations Chris Lowe informed the board that due to rising costs in the construction industry the WBHS project has increased from approximately $20 million to $27.5 million. That figure represents no cut in the scope of the project.

The cost per square foot has risen from $201 per square foot to $265 per square foot. Lowe advised the board that those prices were probably good for the next seven to ten days, but that they needed to make a quick decision on whether to sign a revised contract with Avis Construction and Hughes and Associates Architects and Engineering so that the project can get underway.

Asked by the board for line-item increases, Lowe said that the cost of masonry for the project has increased from $422,000 to $750,000; metals have increased from $437,000 to $967,000; woods, plastics, composites prices have increased from $51,000 to $113,000; the price of doors/windows/etc. has increased from $1 million to $1.25 million; HVCA has increased to $2.5 million. The is no increase in “soft costs” such as furniture and testing with prices already locked in.

Finance Director Susan Peterson said that the increase in costs can be covered in the short term by shifting bonds from the Glen Cove and W. E. Cundiff construction projects, in order to sign the contract, with final approval by the Board of Supervisors.

The School Board voted to approve signing of the contract.

Avis Construction has been moving mobile classroom units into the back parking lot at Byrd–behind the cafeteria entrance in preparation for renovations to get underway.

Lowe also asked the board to approve a request to expand the scope of services for RRMM Architects to analyze the current Burton Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT) program and determine multiple conceptual footprints for a new Burton (one with wings, one compact, two in the middle).  This information will allow RCPS staff to access the feasibility of different sites for the Burton project.  No additional funds are required.

Recently RRMM was commissioned to provide a feasibility study for the relocation of the Burton Center of Arts & Technology facility to the Central Office Cove Road location.  During that presentation it was determined that one of the next steps in the Burton process is to determine potential conceptual Burton square footage footprints that could be utilized to determine suitable site acreage needed for a relocated Burton.

Lowe also requested $10,000 from Minor Capital funds to hire Balzer & Associates, who are on a Roanoke County contract, to locate and assess properties in Roanoke County for a potential BCAT location.  Balzer’s scope of work would include properties owned by RCPS and other potential properties in Roanoke County.  Balzer will evaluate multiple properties and give a report on the feasibility and costs for developing a site for a Burton school by August 1, 2021.

During the work session, the School Board interviewed four applicants for the Catawba School Board seat being vacated by Don Butzer—Brent Hudson, Deneen Evans, Tyrel Tullis, and Patricia Wood. The new board member will serve until voters choose a new representative in the November elections. The board will announce their selection on June 10.

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