While I am in disagreement with parts of the plan that has been put forth to address over-crowding in Beulah near the Navy Federal Credit Union expansion, and I have made my significant disagreements known both online , directly to district facilities staff, and at recent meetings, there is one facet to construction that we should all universally want and upon which we all should agree---keeping costs as low as possible must be a priority!
We're about to spend as much as $75Million dollars on construction--and we have to get this right!
One way to do this is to re-think the way we build.
Why do we need a brand new design for every new school we build?
What is the purpose?-- because designing every new school we contemplate building adds 6-9% to the overall project's costs.
It is for this reason we should Site-Adapt an existing design for our soon to be built schools.
Take a school we have already paid to design and build, and use the same design and site adapt the exact design for the plot of land upon which such a school will be built, taking into account the physical characteristics of the land--slope, terrain, wetlands, existing underground utilities, road frontages, etc, etc.
It does not even need to be a design we have paid for or built. We can find a school in a 100 or so mile radius that is exceptionally well built, tour the constructed facility, speak to the users, then contact the architect of the one we like best. Next, we hire them to reproduce their design for us, site adapted, for our parcel.
--Doing this allows for a better, time tested facility ( after being built the first time, all kinks will be known, can be ironed-out and addressed/corrected for new location)
--Design costs can easily be reduced by as much as 70%---leaving more money for other facilities
--Construction timelines can be cut in half.
--Construction costs can be contained because pitfalls from the initial construction of the first iteration of the design can be avoided/mitigated.
This is how we ought to be doing this new construction; there is absolutely no justification for commissioning brand new designs for soon to be constructed school-houses.
Architects may disagree, but of course they would. They would much rather be paid the full percentage of the building's budget to design something.
But we ought to be about the business of maximizing value for students and taxpayers, not being an enrichment device for architect firms. We're building school-houses, not rocket ships. We know the requirements, great designs are already out there.
We should site adapt existing, time tested designs to maximize efficiency and savings!
This is just one of the points I will be making/raising at the upcoming special meeting on July 20th to more intelligently address our facilities needs.