New high school contract awarded

Published 9:16 am Thursday, May 21, 2015

By Beth Cassidy

Enterprise Record

A contract for $52.6 million was awarded last week to New Atlantic Contracting for the construction of the new Davie High School.

Together with the more than $2.9 million for site work, the total is $55,593,287, or $166 per square foot.

Soft costs, which include architectural services, project management, furniture and equipment, are expected to add another $6.43 million, which would bring the total cost per square foot to about $185.

The new school will be 335,000 square feet.

Superintendent Dr. Darrin Hartness told the board members at their May 5 meeting he had been concerned when bids were opened that put the project $11 million over budget, but after speaking with others, he realized Davie County is not alone.

Tom Balke of Little Diversified Architectural Consulting worked with the school system on the facilities assessment, and told Hartness bids on work he is involved with in Charlotte are also coming in higher, and there are fewer contractors bidding on work because they have too many projects.

Hartness said he contacted the office for school construction in Wake County and was told bids there were coming in as much as 22 percent over estimate.

“They are seeing some of the same trends we are seeing. Back in the summer, jobs were coming in where they were estimated, and in the fall, there was an uptick in site development. Then in January, construction of building costs skyrocketed, so they are seeing the same spike we have been seeing. We are not alone in this scenario,” he said.

The board and staff have been working for weeks with the architects to determine where cost saving changes might be made, and some of those include a reduction of parking spaces behind the stadium and at the end of the student parking lot, a reduction in seating for the stadium from 4,500 to 4,000 (the current War Eagle stadium has about 3,200 seats), modifications in the running track and sidewalk concrete, canopy reduction at the stadium’s concession and restroom areas, and changes in roofline of the classroom tower from curved to A-frame.

Baseball and softball fields will not be included in the first phase of construction but may be added later. The board also decided to delay renovation of the K-building on the existing campus. Once the new school is opened, that will be the location of central office and professional development center.

Hartness said with the changes, the total project is now within budget.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, James Kowles told the board, “I hope this most recent three-story structure in Davie County for the children would meet the most rigorous qualifications to be earthquake-proof, tornado-proof and fire-resistant.”