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It was no surprise to the Clear Creek school board that the cost to construct a new bus barn will be more than expected.
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It was no surprise to the Clear Creek school board that the cost to construct a new bus barn would be more than expected.
What is surprising is that projections show construction costs will be $4.2 million over budget.
The construction cost to build the Transportation and Maintenance Facility on the track south of Building 103 in Idaho Springs will be $5.8 million rather than the $1.6 million school district officials planned for, the school board learned at its June 8 meeting.
Now, district officials, along with the architect and consultants, are looking at ways to reduce the price, but with supply-chain issues, challenges with the site and the increased cost of materials and labor, it will be impossible to build something functional with the $1.6 million construction budget.
District officials are considering borrowing about $3.8 million to cover the cost, though that decision hasn’t been made yet.
Chief Financial Officer Hollie Harlan said the district could borrow the money at 3% interest and pay it back in 15 years or less. The $321,000 monthly payment would come out of the general reserves until the district found other sources to pay back the loan. It can be paid off after June 2025 with no pre-payment penalty.
“All of these factors are impacting us, yet we have a job to do and kids to serve, and a timeline to meet,” Superintendent Karen Quanbeck said.
Making the move
The district is moving its Transportation and Maintenance Facility because it sold the current bus barn property across from the rec center in Idaho Springs and the football field to Four Points Funding in April, and the contract had a 21-month lease-back clause for the bus barn. Therefore, the new facility must be ready by Jan. 26, 2024.
District officials believed the proceeds from the property sale would pay for the new building. The district is not allowed by law to use any bond money approved by voters for the TMF because it was not listed as an expenditure.
The purchase price for the bus barn and football field was $2.3 million, and about $700,000 is being used for non-construction items such as architect/engineering fees, permits, site surveys, utility taps, inspections and more. That leaves about $1.6 million for construction.
The new building is expected to be 6,953 square feet, smaller than the current bus barn, which is 9,700 square feet including the upper level. It is planned to have bus bays, a bus wash, maintenance and storage areas, restrooms and offices.
Facilities Director Justin Watanabe said the new building couldn’t be much smaller than planned because the district would likely need to find storage space offsite. He said the district could look at different building materials, likely costing less now but costing the district more in the future. The number of parking spaces could be reduced to save money, too, he said, though there would be no parking for staff.
The district has 14 buses, and each would have a block heater to keep them running in the winter, plus other vehicles such as trucks and vans.
Of the construction costs, 53% of the money goes to the building itself; 37% to build retaining walls, grade the property and deal with a rock outcropping on one corner; and 9% to finish the building such as fixtures and cabinets.
Jacobs, the consultant working on the project, reached out to subcontractors to get real numbers for the building cost, according to Rachel Rubenstein, K-12 program manager with Jacobs, so the price tag is firm.
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