Why are actual costs higher than pre-bond budget estimates?

  • The primary reason is change in scope. To meet educational needs, adjustments were made in the size of each school, resulting in a net increase of 8,398 square feet (SF). All but 60 SF of this total is accounted by making Victor Elementary larger and Driggs Elementary smaller.
  • Renovations of critical importance, brought forward by the public during pre-bond focus groups, such as safe entryways and modifying the function of a space, are included in total actual costs.
  • Once the bond was approved, the difficult work with school steering committees was undertaken to analyze needs in even greater detail.
  • Some factors were not foreseen when estimating pre-bond, including a tight sub-contractor market among those holding public-works licensing, a worse-than-typical winter, and federal steel tariffs.

How are we going to pay for it?

  • Anticipating that construction costs could come in greater than expected, TSD 401 has built up a significant reserve fund. Because of this cushion – which only a few districts in the state have — the school district could make needed adjustments to change within our Valley (greater growth in Victor) and changes in the economy (more expensive construction).
  • There will not be a request to the taxpayers to cover additional construction costs.
  • The district owns several real-estate assets that can be sold after construction is complete.

Explain more about the cost per square foot.

  • • The average cost per SF actually dropped 6 cents between estimated and actual costs. That’s 2/100ths of a percent variance decrease (-0.0002). This reflects that the original budgets for the projects as proposed were extremely accurate.
  • • The cost per SF for the last two projects (Teton High and Teton Middle schools) are the highest of the six projects and saw the highest increase in what was expected from budget estimates to actual costs.

What modifications were made to control costs?

  • In the pre-construction phase, construction options were evaluated before the “best bang for the buck” was chosen regarding initial cost, long-term maintenance expense and satisfying code.
  • As bids on the new schools were received, value-engineering looked at ways to slightly modify the design and engineer the buildings without compromising square footage for classrooms.
  • Significant savings were accomplished through these subtle but significant changes to control costs (for example, simultaneous bidding on new schools, no windows in the gyms, reduced tile height in all restrooms).