B-P to delay Phase 3 of capital project

Priority is to ‘safeguard taxpayers’ investment’

Members of the Broadalbin-Perth Board of Education on April 15 discussed delaying Phase 3 of the district’s $39.7 million capital project to give district leaders time to work with experts to maximize the work that can be completed within the project budget.

Board members made the decision after nearly a year of revising project plans in response to contractor bids and estimates that have come in above budget. According to project architect CSArch, the high bids and estimates can be explained, in part, by current economic conditions, including high material costs and a shortage of skilled labor.

During the revision process, district leaders worked with CSArch to look for “value engineering” opportunities — ways to complete the work at a lower cost without compromising safety. They also prioritized work that is essential to meeting the goal of reorganizing the schools with students in pre-K through grade 6 at the Perth campus and students in grades 7-12 at the Broadalbin campus.

However, after talking with representatives from Paul G. Carr & Associates, a firm that specializes in forensic engineering, board members decided to take the time to thoroughly review plans for Phase 3 construction to get as much work as possible completed with the remaining project budget.

“The board’s top priority is to safeguard our taxpayers’ investment in the community’s schools,” said Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tomlinson. “We believe it is wiser to slow down the process rather than rush forward and risk not getting as much work out of the project as we might otherwise have.”

Carr estimates the review and a plan for moving forward will be completed by summer, and B-P will be able to accept bids for Phase 3 work in fall 2019. Construction would begin within a few months after bids are awarded.

Tomlinson said the timeline for reorganizing the schools is still up in the air. If the necessary work for reorganization is completed in time, the district could open B-P Elementary School and B-P Junior/Senior High School in September 2020, leaving other work to be completed during the 2020-21 school year. Otherwise, the newly renovated schools would open in September 2021.

“This reorganization is critical to the fiscal stability of the district for the next generation,” Tomlinson said. “Although the setbacks we’ve experienced are disappointing, I think most people can agree that delaying work on the capital project is the best course of action to ensure that our community gets the results it wanted.”