Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School's Cost Gets Closer to Its Budget

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School's Cost Gets Closer to Its Budget

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, Clay County Line staff writer

An exhaustive five-month effort to cut $5 million from the plans for Lake Asbury Junior High has almost met its mark, as land is being cleared for construction to begin.

Architects, construction managers and school district staffers have been going over the plans to bring a $20 million cost estimate down to $15 million, the school district's budget for the project. So far, they have whittled it down to $15.5 million and are still considering a few potential areas to cut, said Will Schaet, project manager for the Barton Malow Company, a Michigan-based construction management firm in charge of getting the school built on budget and on time.

"At the end of the day, everybody can stand up and say, 'This project is a winner,' " he said. "I think it is a good-looking school."

More than 100 revisions were made, "some fairly significant, some relatively minor," some having to do with the kind of materials used, some impacting the actual architectural plan, he said. The number of bricks to be used was reduced, replaced by concrete stucco. Two classroom buildings with a connecting hallway were merged into one building. Some exterior walls were removed and the roof system was simplified in some areas. A concrete amphitheater was changed to a grassy, landscaped slope. And a grand entrance that had been "fairly grandiose" was made less so, among other changes, said architect Paul Stresing, part of the team that designed the school.

But, as district officials mandated, no classrooms were sacrificed.

"Nobody looked back. We looked forward and found a way to get it done," said Jim Stege of Reynolds Smith and Hills, also part of the design team.

If the budget-cutting effort fails to slice an additional $500,000, the overage will be covered by interest earnings and cost-saving measures in the materials purchasing process, said Mike Elliott, the school district's assistant superintendent for support services. …

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