Trustees give green light to Phase 2 bond projects and architects

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District trustees voted at their February board meeting to approve the 23 Phase 2 construction projects and architects recommended by the superintendent and bond program administrators. The Phase 2 project list includes schools located in every trustee district with construction costs estimated at a total $275 million.

Strongly encouraging bond program staff to continue pursuing savings on architectural fees, trustees voted 7-2 to approve the recommended list of primary project architects. Operations Chief Scott Layne and Construction Services Executive Director Tim Strucely noted that some projects would involve partnerships with minority subcontractors, but clarified that none are joint ventures. Concerned about the participation of minority-owned firms, Trustee Foreman asked to see a detailed list of all project architects.

The vote to approve the architects came after discussion about the need to stretch the $1.6 billion bond program budget by negotiating reductions in architectural fees. Early on in the bond program, trustees approved a contract setting architect’s fees at six to 11 percent of project costs. Faced with rising construction costs and more needs than money, the board has recently asked staff to renegotiate the fee structure to six to eight percent.

Trustees Audrey Pinkerton and Dustin Marshall recommended the board delay approving the architects until after the negotiations. Marshall said, “It is worth waiting to realize the savings,” and was backed by Pinkerton who stressed the need to stretch bond dollars as far as possible.

Other trustees said the delay would be costly and eat away at the bond program budget as construction costs continue to rise. Layne and Strucely said the staff will continue to look at opportunities to realize savings on bond program construction costs.

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