Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs School Board agreed to cost-cutting measures Monday to reduce more than $300,000 in excess construction costs for projects at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools.
Project Manager Todd Ficken presented an updated list of "value engineering items" that could be cut or scaled back without affecting the school district's educational mission.
"When you look at some of the items on the list, like replacing the stainless steel hand railings at Soda Creek with painted steel, I think it's not affecting the vision of the school district, but it does save almost $32,000," he said.
Other cost-saving modifications include replacing stainless steel countertops with laminate to save nearly $19,000, and installing cheaper light fixtures to save almost $13,000.
Ficken presented a total of 31 items that the project team, which includes School Board President Denise Connelly and board member Jerry Kozatch, agreed could be modified at the two elementary schools. Ficken requested the School Board's direction on two additional, controversial items.
Removing small entrance canopies on three sides of the building would save about $37,000, he said, while changing the metal wall paneling and rafters from aluminum to a flat seam metal panel system would save about $94,000.
In a letter to the School Board, principal architect Leland Reece advised the board to delete the canopies, but not change the metal wall paneling.
"The result would look industrial in character and would not be compatible with the overall character of the building," Reece said. Christiansen, Reece and Partners "would support substituting the specified product with an alternative metal or stucco, which we anticipate would reduce the cost of the (paneling) material."
The School Board agreed to delete the canopies and continue to look into alternative metal paneling options.
Connelly and board member John DeVincentis said they were in favor of replacing the canopies with an underground snowmelt system.
"I don't care if the two are a wash," DeVincentis said. "If we can make up the savings somewhere else, then I think a snowmelt system is the way to proceed."
Ficken said installing a snowmelt system would soak up nearly all of the $37,000 that would have been saved by removing the canopies.
Underground pipes, which pump hot water to melt snow above ground, will be laid but hooked up to a boiler at a later date.
Ficken assured the School Board that by deciding on what items to cut Monday, the board would not have to make future decisions in haste.
"What I'm looking for from the board today is for you to say, 'Yes, go ahead,'" he said. "A lot of these items don't have to be decided today. : As we go forward in time, we will find other things. There will be things that will cost us money, but things will pop up to save us money."
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