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Complications Cut Into Proposition S Savings

A $51 million bond issue that is funding construction at School District of Clayton facilities such as Clayton High School is now estimated to come in between $500,000 and $1 million under budget, less of a savings than had been anticipated.

While a two-year construction project covering renovations at five facilities in the is expected to be completed by the end of September, it will have fewer savings than previously projected.

S. M. Wilson construction manager Mark Winschel told the Clayton Board of Education at a meeting Wednesday night that the $51 million job is now expected to come in between $500,000 and $1 million under budget, down from an estimated savings of $3 million earlier this year. He added that S. M. Wilson and the district are working together to arrive at a final cost.

Winschel said the reduced savings are a result of more extensive remodeling efforts at after construction crews encountered several “unforeseen conditions,” such as extra asbestos removal, roofing changes and additional parking lot work.

“We wrapped up a whirlwind summer here at the high school,” he said. “I’ve been a part of a lot of crazy remodels lately, but this might have been the craziest … It was a very successful summer, at a cost, of course.”

The project is financed by Proposition S, a bond issue that voters passed in 2009. The proposition is intended for repairs and improvements to Clayton High School, , , and , the district's website states. The scope of the work is comprehensive and includes new office and classroom space, upgraded science labs, building infrastructure overhauls and improvements to athletic facilities.

Prop W Budget 'Within Striking Distance'

Winschel also brought financial news concerning the district’s other large project: the construction of a new facility to replace aging . Proposition W will fund the work. Passed in 2010, the proposition authorizes a $39.4 million bond for the project, which will be completed in three phases.

Earlier this summer, bids for the project came in nearly $3 million over budget. But Winschel said S. M. Wilson and district staff have worked with the contractors to come “within striking distance.” It is now only exceeding the budget by $100,000. He emphasized that the savings resulted from “value engineering” changes.

“We have made a lot of progress on the budget issue over the summer,” Winschel said. “All these changes that were made were all good, solid changes that could be made without sacrificing the overall design integrity of the facility.”

Four Proposition W bid packages totaling $6.7 million received approval by the board at Wednesday’s meeting. The packages cover work on heating and air-conditioning, demolition and masonry. Winschel said S. M. Wilson was still working to bring down the costs on the remaining packages, which will be presented at the board’s September meeting. He estimated a further $500,000 in savings is possible.

The potential lack of leeway worried board member Susan Buse, who said she is concerned the project might not have enough contingency funds were something to go wrong once construction started.

Winschel said the numbers included a nearly $2 million contingency fund, which should be enough money “if construction goes about like we think.” The length of the project poses the most risk because individual contractors could go out of business during the construction’s two-and-a-half year span.

“It’s a very risky climate for contractors,” he said.

Also on Wednesday, the .

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