Dear All,
The question, for today is "Do you have any statistics on how our $147m budget ranks with other local new high school expenditures?"   
Yes, we have statistics that analyzed the cost per square foot actually incurred on other school district high school projects.  This information was provided to the Planning Committee early in the process.  A word of caution when comparing different projects: The bid cost for construction is not the only cost factor in a project.  Our total project cost estimate includes construction, design and engineering, sales tax (9.1%), furniture and equipment, site development unique to our location, bond issuance costs, and many other items for a complete project.
The costs were broken down into numerous line items (i.e.. foundations, footings, walls, roofing, interior finishes, mechanical systems, etc.) related to those actual construction costs and then adjusted for escalation (inflation) up to the projected bid date.
People often compare the cost of the Lakewood High School project to our budget.  It is my understanding that the actual cost of the Lakewood HS project is $67km.  The current Lakewood high school enrollment is around 731 students.  That project was out to bid about 2 years ago.
The SHS  project will house 1230 high school students plus 130 Lincoln Hill/ Academy students plus 160 Saratoga students.  This is a total of 1520 students and a total project budget of $147.5m.  The number of students housed in our project is 208% (1520 divided by 731) greater than Lakewood.  208%  X  $67m = $139,360,000.  Lakewood bid out at least 2 years ago and we have at least 1 more year before bidding, so a total of 3 years of cost escalation needs to be built in.  Using an  inflation (cost escalation) rate determined by 5 independent construction data sources of 4% for 3 years the estimated cost of Lakewood's project built to house Stanwood's student population would be $156,761,047.  The total project cost for the Stanwood project is $147,535,000, which, on a comparative basis, is $9,226,047 less than the cost of the Lakewood project.
Of course, each project is unique.  Not all high schools have the same CTE (Ag. Shop, culinary arts, greenhouse, etc), performing arts, or science lab needs, or the same site conditions.  We feel that this budget will allow us to build a quality building using the same durable materials that were included on the Cedarhome, Elger Bay, and Utsalady elementary schools so that we get more than 50 years of low maintenance use.
Thanks everyone for passing on your questions.  Please let me know if you need any other information or would like to meet in person to discuss this further.

Gary Platt, CPA
Executive Director - Business Services