Today’s Economy Affects Palmer CTE Center Construction

February 22, 2019



by Len Lathrop

All three phases of planning are moving to a groundbreaking stage later this year, approved by the voters in last March’s elections with the caveat that the state grant is approved in Concord. Hudson citizens should see the new additions being built this summer and then, with an excellent phasing plan in place, the renovation could begin.

For those concerned about the state monies, yes, a mere $17 million, the NH Department of Education has it in their budget, and it is in the budget that Governor Sununu has submitted. Don’t think of this as a small task of just building some new areas and classrooms and other student spaces, the complex is designed to meet the 21st Century needs of career-orientated students and prepare them for further education, vocational training or the workforce.

The cost of construction materials and the strong economy have caused a shortage in the skilled labor work force. These factors have affected this project, as it has with all current building projects. The difference with this project and those in the public sector is that there is no cost overrun as the project’s total cost was fixed by the voters in the 2018 election. While small contingency funds were built into the projections during the planning year, since last March the projected cost shortfalls are in the $2 million range.

Recent changes are designed not to affect 21st Century goals of a new center. While the square footage has been reduced by about 7,000 square feet, Harvey Construction reported that the project still includes tile floor in corridors, either MCT or vinyl plank flooring – no VCT, wall tile or some durable material on corridor walls, all new doors in existing frames or new frames when required, new windows in existing space, new glass roof system over existing corridor, includes greenhouse and storage building, outdoor amphitheater, new millwork and casework throughout including window sills, new high-efficiency boilers and a hot water system.

On the diagrams, the striped area is the reduced space; no classroom space was lost and rooms were relocated to meet all current and future needs. Brick was replaced on outside walls (see rendering) with exterior block as it is less expensive and large in size to cut down on building costs.

The CTE Center project manager and architects have worked with the school administration utilizing value-engineering items to find the right-size spaces in the project. This is being done to keep the project costs in line with the budget approved by the voters. Remember that all plans are very fluid and are subject to change and refinement until the cement starts to flow into the site.