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School Board Reviews Elementary School Project Costs

by on October 25, 2016 8:05 AM

The State College Area School Board on Monday heard analysis of the remaining elementary school project options.

District administration and the design team of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates have recommended additions and renovations, instead of new construction, for Radio Park, Houserville and Corl Street Elementary schools. Under each of the options still under consideration by the board, Lemont Elementary will close and merge with Houserville.

Lead architect Jeff Straub told the board that additions and renovations for Houserville would cost $17.98 million, where new construction. At Radio Park, additions/renovations are projected at $18.81 million with new construction at $21.28 million. In both of those, the schools would have three classrooms per grade.

At Corl Street, where new construction is not an option, additions/renovations are projected at $14.66 million for two classrooms per grade and $15.92 million for three classrooms per grade.

For all three, the inflation-adjusted costs per square foot, according to a release from the district, are lower than the district's most recent elementary school projects -- the renovated Ferguson Township and new Mount Nittany, both of which were bid in 2010. In 2016 dollars, both of those projects would come in at about $19.3 million.

For the district-recommended option that calls for additions and renovations at each school with three classrooms per grade, the total cost estimate is $52.71 million. Moving to four classrooms per grade at Radio Park would bring the total to an estimated $55.84 million. New construction at Houserville and Radio Park would total $58.31 million.

The district will receive $7 million in state grants and reimbursements for the project, which would bring the net cost of the district-recommended plan down to $45.71 million. Borrowing capacity for the elementary school projects was budgeted at $40 million, but the district's current financial capacity could accommodate up to $50 million in borrowing, according to the district release.

Several board members said they would still like to see more comparison between new construction and additions/renovations before a decision is made on Nov. 14

Straub told the board that in early planning, Radio Park and Houserville would be done in two phases taking 18-20 months from the fall of 2017 to summer 2019. Both require substantial completion by the end of June 2019 to receive more than $2 million each in grants from Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The process for Corl Street could begin at the same time or later.

Renovations would be done first, followed by additions

“Our goal with both (Radio Park and Houserville) is that students wouldn’t have to move their classrooms during the school year. It would happen during the summer,” Straub said.


Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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