An Underpriced Plan

Updated: Apr 23

In January 2020 RIDE updated its guidance for construction cost estimates for school building projects (see image below). The cost estimates provided as part of the SK stage 2 application fall far short of these targets. The result will be a project practically guaranteed to go over budget. By a lot. Consider that the recently built East Providence High School ended up costing even more than RIDE standards suggest, so these should be considered a floor, not a ceiling.

It’s clear I am not the only one who has recognized this issue. In their April 13th feedback, RIDE included a long list of items currently estimated below expected costs:

Costs per Unit – Verify unit costs for the following items as values appear below expectations for prevailing wage projects: office trailer lease, portable toilets, EIFS, furnish and install the doors, frames, & hardware, new interior partitions walls throughout, ceramic tile, installed kiln, gym scoreboard, ACT grid/tiles, LVT resilient flooring, plumbing cost per square foot, HVAC system, electrical cost per square foot, and underground utilities cost per linear foot.

The School Building Authority (SBA) lists expected costs per square foot for new construction based on the type of school. These figures already factor in 20% "soft cost" allowances. The high school additions are estimated at $8 million less than RIDE cost standards allow, and the BRMS additions are underestimated by $5 million.

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That $13 million is enough to completely wipe out all planned renovations at the current Curtis Corner building. It’s also, coincidentally, equivalent to the bonus percentages for which we potentially qualify. The cost for renovations of the elementary schools and existing Broad Rock and Curtis Corner locations are similarly under-estimated. In the end, the $85M bond will likely end up supporting only the additions and none of the planned repairs and renovations of existing buildings. Our children deserve better.

It is beyond time to stop this plan and build a new one with a realistic budget in line with RIDE standards, which supports all of our students. Please join me in voting no on this bond.

Dorald Beasley

South Kingstown Resident

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