- State High Project
- State High Project
Regular meeting of the Board of School Directors - Sept. 28, 2015
STATE COLLEGE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT MEDIA RELEASE
Sept. 28, 2015
SCASD Director of Communications
SCASD Board of Directors Reviews
Second State High Project Cost Estimate
On Monday, Sept. 28, the State College Area School District Board of Directors received and reviewed Massaro Construction Management Services’ 90 percent cost estimate for the State High Project.
Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates, the project’s architectural firm, had presented its separate 90 percent estimate to the Board on Aug. 31. CRA and MCMS calculated their cost estimates independently.
MCMS estimated the final total estimate will be $140,332,300 (including soft costs of $18,772,675), compared to CRA’s $129,441,575 (including the same soft costs).
Projected net costs to SCASD — the 90 percent estimates minus two secured Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) grants of a little less than $4 million — are $136,396,307 from MCMS and $125,506,182 from CRA.
District of Physical Plant Ed Poprik and design team members Jeff Straub and Jon Bedia from CRA and Dan Kiefer and Tim Jones from MCMS explained the estimates to the board.
Poprik started by noting that the design team had promised the Board that it would advise it about the suitability of the final project documents before any approval vote for bidding. He said that neither he nor MCMS were prepared to do so Monday, but hope to have an assessment by the end of the week and to be able to recommend at an Oct. 5 special meeting that the Board approve the documents for bidding.
“Because of the size of this project … it is critical for the next three years of construction that we have a nearly flawless set of documents,” he said.
Poprik said gaps existed between the CRA and MCMS estimates at the 30 percent and 60 percent stages, but then, the firms had time to compare notes, reconcile the estimates and narrow the differences. Because of the urgency of bidding the project before winter, they didn’t have the same time with the latest estimates.
In fact, Poprik said, he partly accepted not having any reconciliation and a potential further delay because the project is so close to bidding, when the real cost — as opposed to the informed guesses of estimates — will be revealed.
“The only way to know the true number of this project is to bid it,” he said.
Basically, design team members said, the difference between the estimates was due to several factors:
Part of the discrepancy can be attributed to differing opinions from independent parties.
The two firms have different approaches to estimates.
CRA’s practice is to generate an estimate that predicts the total value of the low bids, using data from their previous project bids. MCMS estimates predict a mid-point of all bids, drawing from the project documents and assessing them as a bidder would — getting a market quote for a type of compressor, for example; then multiplying it by the number of units needed and then factoring in labor costs. Dan Kiefer told Board members that the MCMS “cut” about 10 to 20 percent from vendor quotes, understanding that vendors would give conservative figures as cushions. The estimate, he said, drew from more than 215 pages of raw data. “We like to generate as much detail as possible in order to give our teammates as much static information as possible,” he said.
Kiefer explained the MCMS 90 percent estimate increased about $17 million from the 60 percent estimate mainly because of it factored in 49,000 square feet added to the South Building floor plan at the 60 percent stage — primarily within the performing arts and physical education areas. Straub said CRA calculated the increase was 10,000 to 15,000 square feet smaller — translating into $2 million to $3 million less in its estimate.
Over the past 10 years of previous MCMS estimates (about $480 million worth of work), the low bid total value of its projects has averaged 12 percent below the estimated mid-point of bids. If this holds true for the State High Project, the MCMS estimated total construction cost would be $121,559,625 — 12 percent less than the MCMS mid-point construction estimate of $134,390,000. By contrast, the CRA total construction cost estimate comes in at $108,759,200.
CRA has reduced its estimating contingency to 1 percent based on its comprehensive knowledge of the architectural drawings. MCMS is still carrying a 4 percent contingency for the project’s architectural and site and mechanical, electrical and plumbing portions. The difference equates to about $1 million. Construction contingency remains 3 percent and isn’t expected to change.
Cost estimates for alternates were not included in either company’s estimate.
An estimated $7,666,746 of state PlanCon reimbursements may be provided to the district based upon the current PlanCon process. By nature of the referendum exception process, the reimbursement resulting from the referendum debt must be dedicated to funding the project budget. The remaining PlanCon reimbursement may aid in reducing project costs, as well as tax levies in future years.
The administration’s capital financing plan, most recently reviewed at the Sept. 16 board meeting, shows a capacity of $135,000,000 in project funding.
The 90 percent estimates are tools in preparing for bidding the project.
Coming from independent parties, the estimates are expected to contain inherent differences.
As the source of the architectural documents, CRA is expected to have a clearer understanding and deeper knowledge for the cost estimate. The MCMS estimate prepared at the 90 percent stage included greater uncertainty about the project and supporting documents.
During the last month while reviewing the 90 percent documents, MCMS has provided CRA with questions and comments which will lead to refined documents for bidding purposes.
The 90 percent documents from which the estimates were generated were not suitable for bidding purposes. An updated set of project documents was created on Sept. 25. MCMS will offer a final recommendation about the bid of the project at the Oct. 5 Board meeting.
At the Oct. 5 meeting, the Board is expected to vote on approving the release of the bidding documents. In preparation, the district administration will continue to work with CRA and MCMS to prepare for the release of bid documents.
Among action items, the Board approved a contract with Affinity Connection for development fundraising services and a resolution outlining the Board’s stance on Memorial Field and downtown campus development planning.