Renovation/Addition Cost Numbers Presented to School Board, Almost!

September 15, 2017



by Len Lathrop

Alvirne High School burned down 43 years ago this past weekend.  While the Palmer CTE wing was not part of the rebuild, the back extension to the building was added.  For the record, the budgeted cost then was $4,361,374.63.  One last point, before moving to the current project, a 1974 dollar equates to $5.23 in today’s money system.

Ironic that the cost estimates that were presented to the renovation committee last Friday and to the school board on Monday were $46.6 million.  General contractor Harvey Construction has been working with engineers, estimators, and the project architect to put cost numbers to the many different levels of this project.  They have met with school administrators, teachers, and staff to refine the needs to be able to build a 21st century school to Hudson at the most economical cost.

The school board voted this summer to present this project on two different warrant articles to voters during this budget cycle.  And then for the final vote in March 2018.  But before that questions for approval gets to the voters there will be more refinement of the numbers, with some decisions which were presented to the school Monday night being answered by the board at their special meeting next Monday the 18th.  Those decisions could add roughly $1.96 million to the project.

As presented at the Monday night meeting, the first warrant article is for the Palmer CTE project, which has a hard construction cost of $20.3 million and an engineering, furnishings, contingencies and other soft costs $4.7 million for a total of $25 million.  The state contribution for the CTE project is $17 million, leaving the citizens of Hudson a total of $8.1 million.

Warrant Article 2, called the Alvirne High School project, is the new gym and turning the current gym into a auditorium and cafeteria and the supporting structures.  This project has a hard construction cost of $18.3 million and engineering, furnishings, contingencies and other soft costs of $3.2 million, which totals $21.5 million.  There is no state funding for part of the project.  State funding is only available for vocational projects.

One big “what if’ with these projects is number one that the Palmer CTE project must pass for the Alvirne project to pass.  And as both one and two will be bonded, they will take a super majority or 66 percent.

When the projects are combined, hard construction costs are $38.6 million with engineering, furnishings, contingencies and other soft costs of $8.0 million, the state aid stays the same at $17 million and the community contribution is $29.6 million.

Hudson School District’s Business Administrator Karen Burnell has been working with the New Hampshire Bond Bank to see the anticipated tax impact.  A couple of cautions, these are working on soft numbers, they are based on the 2016 evaluation number, not the 2017 evaluation you received from the town last week.  While the calculations may change, the bottom line will be somewhat close.  On warrant one, the CTE project for a 20-year bond, the yearly impact on a house valued at $300,000 would be $75, and, if it were a 30-year bond, it drops to $69.  When both articles are totaled, that $300,000 house would be impacted by about $255 per year.  As this bond is gearing up the Garrison School bond is coming to an end.  That will reduce the rate by 27 cents.

Just remember these bond numbers are very soft for a multitude of reasons: from the bond not stating until 2021, the final costs of the projects, and a lot of other factors, but as they say they are in the ballpark.

The options that the school board will be voting on next Monday the 18th are a new greenhouse, which due to low or no student enrollment might not qualify for state support, it has a cost of $162,500.  The second option is a Gantry crane at Heavy Duty Mechanics, which most likely could get the state support, has a cost of $100,000.  Third is to replace the boilers in the original school that are 10 years old with another 15- to 20-year life cycle for $181,250.  Fourth, theater equipment has an allowance of $250,000 for a backbone system; this option would add another $350,000 for an upgraded package.  Option 5 puts bathrooms in the auditorium on the third floor for $62,500.  Moving outside Option 6 adds new ADA and other parking by the sports field adjacent to the tennis courts about 40 spaces for $53,750.  Option 7 reconstructs the tennis courts, which have limited team play and forced early season matches off site, costing the school money; the yearly costs to keep the courts playable has been about $8,000 a year.  The last option question for the board to decide would be $950,000 for a new synthetic turf field.

The total of all the options as presented is $1,960,000, which, on that $300,000 home, would be $18 a year.

Monday night the 18th will put more answers into the equation, and the people will have the invitation to meet with the teams on many different levels to answer questions and explore the impact of the projects.  The school board voted to allow the marketing of the renovation of the CTE and the changes to the Alvirne complex.