Project Owners: Costs Rise for OCSD Capital Project | New

OSWEGO – Project Managers and Consultants Estimate Substantial Increase in Oswego City School District Investment Project Budget, Citing Significant Price Hikes and Labor Uncertainties Caused by the Pandemic global COVID-19.

The Oswego City School District Investment Project (OCSD) – which is expected to make improvements and renovations to the seven buildings in the district – was regularly covered in education council meetings throughout the year. last year. District officials provided updates on a multitude of project components, which are divided into five phases. They include the restructuring of utility systems in several buildings for the sake of profitability, the creation of new parking lots and certain health and quality of life improvements like the promise of lead-free water and monoxide detectors. of carbon.

The most notable element of the project, the new multi-purpose turf pitch, is part of phase two and began hosting official competitions earlier this spring.

But as the district navigates construction of the project, with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak as a backdrop, project managers say the original price of $ 63.1 million has also risen to 87 , $ 3 million due to estimated cost increases. This new figure could decrease if the district reduces the scope of the project, according to the monitors of the investment project.

The project was approved by a referendum of district taxpayers at the end of 2018.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Craig Dailey, a longtime project manager who assists OCSD on several construction and logistics issues, spoke about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the project’s progress. fixed assets.

“The pandemic has had an impact on what we see in the market when it comes to price escalation,” said Dailey, who works for Syracuse-based architectural firm King + King. “This had an impact on the availability of contractors, materials and we saw shipping delays. More important to us, we cannot trust the timeline.

Dailey said the company calculated an estimated 20 to 30 percent increase in the cost of the projects.

“We don’t know when this is actually going to end,” he said. “The market is struggling to get back on its feet in the pre-pandemic era.”

Nationally, the price of materials has skyrocketed since 2020. The National Association of Home Builders estimates that in June of this year, lumber prices in the United States were up 340% from at their estimated value in 2020.

Phases one and two of the project, which Dailey says are nearing completion, used up $ 29.7 million of the $ 63.1 million budget. The first phase, which included a new district office and a swimming pool for Oswego Middle School, is priced at $ 810,471, according to data provided by the district. The district had budgeted $ 785,000 for this part of the project when it went to a referendum.

Phase two, which included the new multipurpose turf pitch, suffered a setback last year as construction crews found traces of metal contaminants while creating a floodplain for stormwater management in the area on along Hillside Avenue, known as the Old Wilber Land. The contractors found remnants of lead, arsenic, barium and mercury, and OCSD then launched a $ 5.6 million soil remediation project to remove enough contaminated samples to place 2 foot ground cover on the field, then install the practice range.

Overall, Dailey said the final price for phase two is estimated at $ 28.9 million, which is roughly $ 4.4 million outside the financial scope set for this phase when the overall project budget was offered in 2018. Only $ 700,000 is expected to come. from OCSD’s pocket for the soil remediation project, as the district is expected to receive substantial assistance to cover the cost.

At the meeting, Dailey also announced that Phase Three will be split into two, with Part “A” covering upgrades to Fitzhugh Park, Charles E. Riley, Minetto and Kingsford Park elementary schools. The estimated price for part “A” of the third phase of the project would be $ 13.6 million, approximately $ 5.6 million more than the money budgeted when the project was approved.

Additional upgrades expected for Part “A” are as follows:

• Kingsford Park and Fitzhugh Park Primary Schools: Replacement of doors and door hardware. Replacement of staircase handrails and restoration of masonry throughout the building.

• Charles E. Riley Elementary School: Replacement of hallway and ceiling lighting. Build bathrooms that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Grade 1 classrooms.

• Minetto Primary School: Replacement of lighting along the corridors. Removal of the sinks from the classroom. Restructuring of the entrance to the computer lab. Removed the second door in eight classrooms.

These renovations to elementary schools in the port city would tentatively begin construction in April 2022 and end around September 2023.

For Part “B”, the district will install improvements to Oswego Middle School. As currently proposed, the price to be paid for part “B” would amount to $ 24.5 million, which is approximately $ 15.5 million more than the budget originally planned for this phase when the project was voted on. . Improvements to Oswego Middle School would begin in the summer of 2023 and end around December 2024, Dailey said.

“The phase was split in two because there was a lot more emphasis on the design before phase three, part ‘B’ for the college,” said Dailey. “We decided to treat the ‘B’ part as a separate project instead of trying to keep them both together.”

James McKenzie, Board Member, asked if doing Phase Three work all at once would save the district money in the long run.

“Do we have a long-term advantage in including these items now rather than as part of an additional investment project?” McKenzie asked.

Dailey replied that it could be beneficial for the project’s timeline.

“As far as the sequencing goes, I would say there’s a little bit of efficiency there,” Dailey said. “But we are also going through the design phase where we try to isolate areas that can easily be renovated and rebuilt in the future without impacting new work in progress.”

Dailey added that these numbers presented are estimates and could be larger or smaller depending on how material and contract costs continue to rise or possibly fall.

Phase Four, which is an overhaul of the softball and baseball fields at Oswego High School, would cost around $ 12 million, Dailey said. Work on this phase is still over five years old, Dailey added.

Phase five, which would modernize current tennis and basketball courts, would cost around $ 8.1 million, Dailey said. Construction on this phase is not expected until at least 2029, Dailey said.

Ultimately, Dailey’s recommendation is that the district reassess the scope of Phases Four and Five in order to stay within the budget approved by voters in 2018.

While there is a lot for the council to consider in terms of finances, OCSD Superintendent Mathis Calvin III said the district is on the cusp of moving forward with appeals. offers for phase three, part “A”.

“We will come back with more information,” Calvin said. “We will go ahead with the phase three ‘A’ tender and come back and share real numbers with the public to see how things turn out.”

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