Tonawanda News

The City

February 27, 2013

TCSD capital plan over budget

Tonawanda News — The Tonawanda City School District’s pending $12 million capital project is over budget and will require significant changes to move forward, board members were told Tuesday.

Project Director Peter Buckley, of Pike Co., said bids from seven contractors vying to handle construction of a new music wing at the high school included a low bid of $3.689 million — about $500,000 more than approved by district voters last May.

Bids to construct a new football stadium, the linchpin of the project, came in on or under budget and work on it is unaffected by the music wing overages.

Project managers were at a loss in explaining the problem Tuesday.

”It’s really difficult to explain,” Buckley told a decidedly frustrated school board. “I don’t know how anyone could have anticipated it.”

With a “hungry economy” and decent competition among firms returning bids, project managers said work expected to cost roughly $250 per square foot would cost the district closer to $500 per square foot.

While the money is available as part of the district’s overall capital bond, spending it would eliminate all of the project’s contingency funding — a buffer amount to cover change orders resulting from unforeseen problems affecting virtually every such project. The district is bound by law not to exceed the amount of money voters authorized them to bond for the project.

The budget-busting bid is related only to general construction work inside the building — including the music wing, as well as planned renovations to the locker room and main office at the Hinds Street building.

Making matters worse, Brian Brady of project architects Wendel said two other side-projects including a new roof at Riverview and expanded parking are considered alternate projects in the current funding picture. If considered essential elements of the plan, the true overage is more like $650,000.

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