Stratford High renovations to cost more

Estimated price for revamp now at $125.9 million

By Melvin Mason on December 9, 2015 in Latest, Lead News, News · 0 Comments

Renovations for Stratford High School are now expected to cost about $125.9 million, though the town will be responsible for $52.6 million.

The new price, $125,966,646, was approved during a special meeting of the Town Council in what could be the outgoing council’s final meeting. The new council will take its seats next Monday. The approval and revised amount allows the town’s Building Needs Committee and the project team to proceed to the design and development phase for the project plan and allows the Ordinance Committee to update the appropriation ordinance.

Alan Llewelyn, chairman of the Stratford High School Renovation Subcommittee, said the change in pricing from the last estimate of $106 million is needed because certain paperwork needs to be sent to the state by Dec. 15. The town’s portion of the renovation will be $52.6 million. The bulk of the cost will be covered by state reimbursement.

Llewelyn said the cost is rising based on discussions and design work taking place between architect Antinozzi Associates, CREC Construction Services and Turner Construction.

“Right now the costs are trending up,” Llewelyn said, noting that the project is in the midst of schematic design, where they are talking about what types of things can be done as part of the renovation.

“Right now based on all the options that are on the drawings, the project cost is at that $125-million ballpark number,” Llewelyn said after the meeting.

But the approval is not the final number, he said, or the final amount that will go to Turner Construction. “It’s just where they are at this time,” Llewelyn said, noting that he would be surprised if the cost rises above the $125.9-million figure since the state usually frowns on changes that exceed 10% of the original funding allocation.

“It’s my intention that this $125 [million] is a ceiling and we’re going to work down from it,” he said.

Town officials approved a concept design of a renovated SHS that calls for a second wing to be built on the west side of King Street. The main building and the new wing will be connected through an enclosed bridge on the second floor passing over King Street. The new wing will be where 95% of classes will be. The eastern wing will be the location of a larger gymnasium that will fit as many people as the current gym at Bunnell High School.

A concept unveiled last month had the famous 1925 Stratford High School arch facing Town Hall being relocated in an effort to preserve it.

Llewelyn said a final design for the renovated SHS has not been arrived at. He said the plan is to begin the renovations next October.

The outgoing Town Council also voted to approve several other subcommittee recommendations, including the selection of Eagle Environmental Inc. to serve as the hazardous waste consultant for the renovation. The SHS renovation budget includes a $2.5-million estimate for the removal of hazardous materials. Llewelyn said the hazardous waste consultant will be needed to define if the number is too much or too little.

“It could come down or it could go up, but right now the fact that it’s sort of a guesstimate-estimate number means we need the consultant to more further define it and give us a description for what we’re working with for hazardous materials,” he said.  Eagle Environmental will be paid more than $76,000 or its work and the hiring of an independent cost estimator for about $98,000.