Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, March 14, 2008

"Architect projects costs to renovate, replace Pullman High School"

Pay close attention to this line in the story below: "funding will become easier as property valuations in Pullman increase."

Both the Pullman Wal-Mart Supercenter and the Hawkins development in the corridor will be in the PSD #267 taxing district.

Wal-Mart's property, valued at $22,784,646, will pay $112,784 in taxes to the Pullman School District every year.

The Hawkins development, at 40% buildout, is valued at $50,000,000, and will pay$247,500 in taxes to the Pullman School District every year. As it is further built out, it will be worth more and pay more in taxes.

That's an additional $72,784,646 in property valuation added to the tax rolls, bringing in an extra $360,284 a year to our schools.

As a homeowner and the parent of a preschooler who may very well benefit from a new Pullman High School, you can see why I am supporting Wal-Mart and Hawkins versus sending my dollars to the Idaho school system.

From yesterday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
It will cost more than $55 million to renovate or replace Pullman High School, according to projections from a Spokane-based architect.

Steven J. McNutt provided his estimates during Wednesday's Pullman School Board meeting, leaving board members to mull their options for the high school's future.

Renovating the existing 37-year-old building would cost about $55.5 million, while building a new, 140,000-square-foot facility would cost more than $58 million. The projections are based on estimated 2009 construction costs. The state would pay about $10.5 million, and the Pullman School District would be responsible for the rest.

"I apologize for the sticker shock. These prices are crazy," McNutt said. "It's a perfect storm of commodity increases and a red-hot market. Contractors have more projects than they can build."

Such an expense would be difficult for the district considering it is paying off $23.4 million in debt for renovations of Lincoln Middle School and its three elementary schools. At present, the district can only take on $42.2 million in debt based on the total valuation of property in Pullman.

The district is paying off about $1 million in debt every year, and Executive Director for Support Services Dan Hornfelt said funding will become easier as property valuations in Pullman increase.

McNutt has worked on about 100 schools in eastern Washington, including Lincoln Middle School. He talked about the advantages and disadvantages of rebuilding versus renovating, adding a state-of-the-art theater, keeping the gymnasium and shop at the existing school, and the timing of the project.

McNutt also said the district needs a school of about 165,000 square feet. The existing school is 159,220 square feet, but space is inefficiently utilized. He described the school as having "a meandering plan, a peculiar footprint."

McNutt's estimates include about $557,270 for asbestos removal and $500,000 for temporary buildings if the district decides to renovate the school. He also said most new schools have theaters with catwalks, acoustic tile, an orchestra, fancy seating and curtains.

Pullman Superintendent Paul Sturm said he heard many questions from voters about the high school as he spoke to community groups regarding the recently approved maintenance and operations replacement levy.

McNutt told the board he thinks the district should wait to proceed "until it's financially viable," but Sturm said the school has some infrastructure needs that can't wait six years.
Technorati Tags:

No comments: