The members of the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly got an update on the high school renovation and construction project on Thursday night. Matt Gandel from the borough’s projects office first walked the assembly through what has already been completed.
The completed areas include paving of the Upper Mill Bay Parking lot, renovation of the gym, basement locker rooms, new boiler plant and new four-story tower, parking lot between the high school and the borough building and widening and paving of a portion of Egan Way,” Gandel said.
He then went over the phases of the project yet to be finished.
“Underway right now is Phase 6. Phase 6 is referred to as Area B, and it’s what you see when driving by on Rezanof. It’s where the new cafeteria, culinary arts classrooms and staff offices and special needs classrooms will be in that area. And that’s scheduled to be complete by October 1st of this year. Phase 8 is the new main entrance and parking lot. The first part of that phase is the demolition of the eastern half of the Learning Center out here. And once that’s gone, they’ll start working on that main parking lot entry, and that’s schedule to be done by the end of August of this year,” he said. “Phase 7 is the vocational education wing, which includes the auto shop, construction, design, welding, natural resources. That’s most of the green area. And that’s supposed to start when school ends and be complete by the end of the summer so those classrooms are ready when school starts in the fall.”
Gandel also updated the assembly on the number of change orders requested by the contractors during the project, but first Borough Manager Bud Cassidy had a few words of explanation for the assembly members, saying change orders are routine, but the projects office tries to keep them to a minimum.
“A perfect example of this is the asbestos issue we ran into just last meeting. I think that the effort of the project office is geared to keep change orders to a minimum. But as I said not everything is known and because of that we have a contingency reserve line item project budget that runs from five to 10 percent of the overall project budget,” Cassidy said. “And places where we do new construction we really shoot for that lower range of the five-to-10, but of course when you do things like rehabilitation work and you’re digging in the ground or digging in the wall you just never know what you’ll run into. But that’s general at the higher range. But I think you’ll hear tonight that we’re really much lower than that 5- to 10-percent contingency.”
Gandel said contractors have submitted 316 change orders so far, with a potential cost of $1.6-million.
“Out of those 316, 19 were not approved, which eliminated about $543,000, which was a potential add to the project cost, or the construction cost, excuse me,” Gandel said. “Another 90 of those changes were reduced during the review process, saving about $202,000. So out of the $1.6-million that’s been submitted we’ve approved $863,132 in change orders.”
Assemblyman Larry LeDoux questioned Gandel about add-ons if the project comes in under budget.
“I understand when the project was approved there were some alternative projects that could be taken care of if there was extra money. Can some of the money be used for those, and are they evaluating those now?” LeDoux said “I know you can’t spend the money now, because of what might happen, but are we actually looking at some of those projects and is there going to be a process where the assembly will look at those at the end of the project to make decisions on priorities?”
“Yeah, we’ve been holding off on looking at those, because obviously we want to get to a point where we’re comfortable saying we have extra money,” Gandel said. “We haven’t talked about how that process would work, but I think we’re getting close to the time where we need to begin evaluating those things.”
Gandel said the borough shouldn’t hold off on requesting the add-ons for too long, because the price would go up once the contractors have packed up later this year. He said he’d provide LeDoux and the other assembly members a copy of what those alternatives might be.