Value Engineering – Part 2

At the end of each phase of the school project, the project team performs a new round of cost estimating. We are now at the end of the 60% Construction Documents phase, and at last Wednesday’s meeting the SBC reviewed the latest estimates. They came in about $2.8M above budget, so the SBC is engaged in Value Engineering to keep the project on budget. Here is a brief synopsis of the project’s cost estimation history:

  • The project scope and budget was set at $93.9M by the June 2018 Special Town Meeting.
  • In September 2018, at the end of Schematic Design, the reconciled cost estimate was $104M, and the SBC went through an extensive round of Value Engineering to keep the project on budget.
  • At a Special Town Meeting and ballot vote in December 2018, the $93.9M project was approved. The tax impact of the bond is here.
  • In April 2019, at the end of Design Development, the cost estimates determined that the project was on budget.

So if the project was on budget in April, why did the latest estimates come in higher?

  • Our project is about 75% renovation/25% new construction.
  • Two major goals of the project are to 1) ensure a comfortable and healthy learning environment, and 2) make the building net zero.
  • Meeting those goals means there is a heavy emphasis on the building envelope and the mechanical systems.
  • The 60% Construction Documents phase is when the specifications and details of those systems are determined. Therefore, this difference in cost estimates is not unusual.

The SBC began the process of cutting costs last Wednesday, and the process will continue over the next couple of weeks. An additional SBC meeting has been added on this coming Wednesday, September 4th, 7pm, in the Hartwell multipurpose room.

Click here to see a comparison of the three cost estimates.


Is the project continuing to meet its EUI (energy use intensity) goal of ~23? To find out, click here. To learn more about net zero and EUI, visit the FAQs home page.

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