NPS High School Building Project
COMMUNITY UPDATE - SPECIAL EDITION
Superintendent Brooke Clenchy
Nauset Regional High School Building Update
Please Save the Date - January 10, 2023
We have dedicated this special edition of our newsletter series to focus solely on the Nauset Regional High School building project.
On February 9th, 2020 a budget for the anticipated building project for the Nauset Regional High School was finalized and acknowledged at a meeting with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). The original budget set and approved for this project was $131,825,665.
As we have moved through this building process in partnership with the MSBA, we have established our Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) as well as our Engineer/Architect firm. These two firms are active partners who we work with daily.
Recently we received both the Sub-Trades bids and those for the General Contractor. The Sub-Trade bids came in approximately $20 million dollars more than anticipated, and the lowest General Contractor bid came in almost $10 million dollars higher than anticipated.
This project also included a side project of acquiring modular units to house staff and students while the main project is ongoing. The purchase of additional modular units increased the cost of that particular component of the project, but allows the project timeframe to be shortened.
The contingency line now needs to be readjusted to the new anticipated amount of the project, and the gap left as a result of purchasing additional modular units.
Throughout the spring and early summer, the School Building Committee (SBC) met for the purpose of value-engineering the project, which in essence meant making certain cuts to the project to keep it in-line with the established budget. It is impossible to further value-engineer the amount of funds required to make up the current shortfall, the shortfall is simply too large.
In looking ahead, the SBC also reflected on the previously established budget for FF and E/IT (basic furniture, equipment, and technology) and realized that with the escalation factor at play, that particular budget also needed to be increased at this time. (A formula was used to come up with the additional $814,500.)
Three other line items were also in need of being increased as a result of natural escalation - Testing and Inspection costs, moving services and the Builder’s Risk Insurance.
As a result of this escalation of costs the SBC recommended to the Nauset Regional School Committee that the district go back to the voters to decide upon the next step for the project. The Nauset Regional School Committee held a vote at their last meeting to accept that recommendation.
The Nauset Public Schools leadership team has also been holding regular meetings with our four Town Administrators (TA’s) who have been connecting with their respective Town Clerks.
Moving forward, a date of January 10, 2023 (11:00 am - 7:00 pm) has been established for a school district-wide vote. This process follows the same pattern as was held the last time the district went out to the voters for this project. There will, in essence, be two questions asked - one from the school district to decide whether to move ahead with the project, and the second from each of the towns looking to establish a debt exclusion for this amount of money.
We have sought, and been allowed, a 90 day extension on all construction bids. We need to work in a timely fashion to ensure that we meet all deadlines.
The total being requested is $38,100,000.
We will be presenting to all of our Nauset Public Schools’ School Committees, and have requested to meet with all of our Board of Selectmen Committees. We have also reached out to multiple legislators requesting relief. We believe that a targeted supplemental budget or pothole account would help to close gaps between the budgeted and actual costs for school building projects like ours across the Commonwealth. We recognize that we are not the only school district in Massachusetts that is experiencing this, these are challenging times, and we recognize that.
Our timeline is relatively short, and we are doing all we can to meet every deadline before us.
Thank you for your support as we continue to work through all of this.
Yours in partnership,
Superintendent Brooke Clenchy
Nauset High School Building Committee Chair Greg Levasseur
Nauset High School Building Project Update
The High School Building Project has two components: the renovation and addition to the NRHS campus and the establishment of temporary learning spaces in a series of modular classrooms.
The modular classrooms are being installed to allow for continued, uninterrupted instruction during the main building project. The modulars are being readied for occupancy at the end of this year. Connecting the fire sprinkler system, PA system, fire alarms and interior painting are all on schedule for completion in December.
The main project is in a holding pattern. The bids for construction have been opened and are $29,675,835 over what is in the current building fund of $109,500,000. The balance of the original total budget of $131,825,665 was earmarked for new technology purchases and some new furnishings and new kitchen equipment. The building committee could not reduce the project scope without affecting the core program that was presented to, and approved by, the District voters. To reduce the project by $29+ million would mean removing about 64,000 square feet of space, fully one third of the project. Doing that would have seriously eroded and jeopardized an MSBA grant of $36 million which is directly tied to that program.
The Building Committee has requested that the Nauset Regional School Committee ask the District voters to fund the construction deficit and add to the project contingency to insure that over the next 3 years the project is funded for completion.
Nauset Regional School Committee Chair Chris Easley, Vice-Chair Judy Schumacher
NRHS Building Update
On November 2, 2022, the NRHS School Building Committee (SBC) met for a final time to review the most recent bids received by the Owner’s Project Manager. After much reflection and discussion, the decision was made by the Committee to recommend to the Nauset Regional School Committee to go to the voters of the four communities to request the additional funding required to continue the NRHS building project as initially designed.
On November 3, 2022 the Nauset Regional School Committee met, and after much discussion unanimously agreed with the recommendation offered by the SBC.
On January 10, 2023, the Nauset Regional School Committee (NRSD) will hold a district-wide vote asking the residents of its four member towns (Brewster, Eastham, Orleans, and Wellfleet) to approve $38.1 million in additional monies to cover the total increased cost to fund the Nauset Regional High School (NRSD) Building Project that was initially approved by the voters on March 30, 2022 in a district-wide vote.
The project will continue as scheduled with a slight initial delay.
Brait Builders (the low-bid General Contractor) will begin on-site work by the end of January.
Phase I, starting in February, will involve moving the gym and cafeteria to temporary locations.
Students will begin moving into the mobile classrooms in early 2023.
The building project is expected to meet its original completion date.
If Not Approved:
All work on the NRHS Building Project will cease.
The $36.6 million in MSBA grant funds will be lost.
The NRSD has a Bond Anticipation Note of $27 million that comes due on June 23, 2023. Of this at least $24 million has been spent on project costs to date or is currently bound up in signed contracts. The NRSD will have to issue a $24-27 million bond to cover this debt and assess the members' towns annually for payment of this debt.
The aging NRHS building, as well as the mobile classrooms, will continue to require money for maintenance until a permanent solution is found.
Educational Liaison Tom Faris
Nauset High School has a long standing reputation for academic excellence. Some believe it is in spite of the campus conditions. There is much evidence that the current campus is tired and in need of renovation. Teachers and students have become accustomed to classrooms that are either 85 degrees or 60 degrees; which is a reflection of the lack of energy efficiency throughout the campus. Technology is tired, stairs are worn, elevators work sporadically, classroom spaces are largely unchanged from their original construct in 1972, and special needs and other classrooms and offices are in improvised spaces.
This building project began more than 7 years ago. The high school, in cooperation with the Central Office, developed the Statement of Interest required by the Massachusetts School Board Authority (MSBA). Since the approval of the Statement of Interest by the state, the school community and educational community have been involved in the development of this project.
Kathleen Tringale, Educational Liaison, in cooperation with many faculty members and administrators, was a lead writer of the Educational Vision which she presented to the MSBA. The Massachusetts Building Authority was impressed and compelled by the vision that has been developed.
In spite of the years and roadblocks, many of us are still extremely optimistic and excited about what we, collectively, are about to do here. We are grateful the district overwhelmingly voted to fund the school renovation project. Who could have guessed the changes we have seen from just a few short years ago? But, now we find ourselves at yet another hurdle- additional funding. COVID, supply chain issues, workforce stresses are some of the reasons for these high bids we have received. But now we find ourselves at a critical juncture.
Although we are faced with cost overruns due to the current conditions, the voters now have a chance to make their voices heard again in support of the project. We encourage all constituents to look through the resources and peruse the plans. We believe the architects have planned an excellent facility that will better reflect our strong academics and outstanding programming.
Teachers, students and staff are anxious to see this campus begin its needed renovation and become a better reflection of the learning, the unique programming, and the student culture we value as a community.
During a recent visit to Chicago, a city with great civic pride especially about its architecture, I visited the stately Chicago Tribune building on Michigan Avenue. Walking in, I was struck by a seal inset into the floor with a quote from John Ruskin. It reads:
"Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us.”"