Cost-cutting measures

Revised campus rendering.

The Seaside School District scaled back architectural plans for the new campus in the Southeast Hills, officials said at a meeting of the district’s construction oversight committee Tuesday, May 8. Architects have reduced the building footprint, square footage and added a third-floor to the middle- and high-school building to reduce foundation costs.

“Retaining walls are expensive,” district superintendent Sheila Roley said.

Renovation plans for additions to Seaside Heights Elementary School are unaltered.

Students from schools relocating from within the tsunami inundation zone are expected to start classes in new facilities by September 2020.

“It’s been quite an interesting process to take advantages of the site in the best way possible and stay true to the district’s educational goals as well as the goals of the community,” Dan Hess of BRIC Architecture said at the meeting. “They really wanted something special, not just a concrete bunker.”

When early bids came in architects decided to modify plans to add a third story for the middle- and high-school building to provide stability on the hillside site. The modification eliminated about 15,000 square feet from the building.

“It’s more expensive than a normal foundation,” Hess said. “By making it smaller and taller, that was a cost-saving effort.”

Midway through the design process, the district was a “bit over budget,” according to a report from owner’s representative DAY CPM.

Architects identified about $3 million in cost savings using value engineering and eliminated an additional 3,000 to 4,000 square feet from the middle- and high-school building, now projected at about 140,000 square feet, Hess said. “The footprint hasn’t changed, but how things are arranged in there has improved a lot. A lot of it had to do with minimizing hallways and using a more efficient layout.”

While no classrooms have been eliminated from plans, there was “a little belt-tightening” in classroom size, Hess said.

The number of student lockers was reduced by half, with the goal of saving square footage in hallways.

Most high school kids don’t use lockers, district superintendent Sheila Roley said, as electronic devices replace heavy textbooks. “If you go in Seaside High School and see all those lockers in the hallway, well over half of them are empty.”

Students who want lockers may sign up for them, she added.

The campus budget is expected to reach about $112 million, about $12.3 million more than the original $99.7 million approved by voters. The difference is expected to be covered by bond interest and state grants.

A water tank at the campus site will be needed for fire safety, at an anticipated $6 million cost to the city, Seaside City Manager Mark Winstanley said at Tuesday’s meeting.

“You have to have the capacity there whether they ever use it or not,” he said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t pass a bond issue.”

After Seaside Planning Commission approval in April, site inspections from the Oregon Department of State Lands and the Army Corps of Engineers remain ahead, including an archaeological review.

The district’s goal is a June 1 first construction start date. Officials hope to have a building permit by Aug. 8. Summer academic and sports programs usually held at the Seaside Heights campus will be relocated to Broadway Middle School during construction.

“Everything’s a work in progress,” Roley said.


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