In a letter sent to the city’s procurement director and city engineer in charge of the construction projects, four school board members asked why the estimated $110 million construction cost leaped to $140 million in just five months. The spunky Richmond Free Press obtained a copy of the letter. City officials blew off the Free Press when its reporter inquired into the cost escalation, but it may be more difficult to ignore the school board members.
In the letter, the four School Board members note that the design firm, RRMM Architects of Norfolk, informed the School Board on Sept. 4 that the cost of the new middle school was projected at $182.48 a square foot. However, a new city report projects a $90 increase in the per square foot cost.
“When this design was built in Suffolk, it was the least expensive middle school project built (in Virginia) that year,” the letter states. “Please clarify why actual construction costs are $272.44 (a square foot), substantially higher than the state average.” …
The current $272.44 figure comes from information city officials provided to City Council last week.
While the letter does not say so, the $90 increase means the city would spend $16.8 million more than Suffolk did to construct the same school.
Kudos to school board members Jonathan Young, Kenya Gibson, Patrick Sapini, and Felicia Cosby — and to the Free Press — for demanding answers.There are currently no comments highlighted.