The latest report from the Town of Berlin says that the estimate for the Berlin High School project is $14,234,987 over budget at this point.
Phase I work has begun on the east side of the school, where a building will be constructed to allow for swing space. That swing space will allow students to be moved from their regular classrooms to the new building so that laborers may start work on other parts of the school. This will be crucial when phasing the project.
Despite the large discrepancy between the $69.5 million approved at budget referendum and the current cost estimates of more than $84 million, Mayor Adam Salina is confident the town and Town Council will not have to go back to the town for more money to complete the project.
"We are looking at a lot of school projects and we are seeing that very few come in at or under budget," Salina said. "What we are doing right now is looking for additional assistance from the state and there is some potential that we may qualify for some waivers. There are remedies available and at this point, we can't afford for this project to fail."
Berlin Patch detailed the long and bumpy road the high school renovation project has gone through to get to this point.
"I am still very optimistic that we can get this done without going back out to the public and taxpayers."
Salina said he was ecstatic to see work being done at the school.
"Once I saw that they began work I went and put a shovel in the ground myself and moved some dirt around to make sure it was real," Salina said. "This process started in 2006. It has been a long process and a frustrating process but to see some things finally being done at the school was a positive step.
"We won't know how the bids are going to come in until we open them. Once we do that and we see where they are at we can get on the lists we need to be on to see if we qualify for additional state funding. We need the hard numbers first and we don't have them yet."
Here are some of the highlights of what has happened lately and what will happen going forward.
- The team returned with plans to the State for the follow-up Plan Completion Test (PCT) on February 6 and 7. The State accepted the plans and they were delivered to Chris Laux to perform the local review.
- Work on Phase 1 has progressed with most of the site utilities completed or in progress and foundation work in progress.
30 Day Look Ahead:
- Return to the State with local review comments and authorization to go out to bid Phase 2.
- Going out to bid on Phase 2 before the end of March.
- Substantial completion of foundations for the new Phase 1 Tech Ed Building.
- Completion of Local Review process and return to the State.
- Authorization by the State to go out to bid Phase 2.
- Referendum Approved Budget: $69,950,000
- Estimated total project cost based on January 8th PCT documents is $84,184,987
- Final budget to be determined after receipt of Phase 2 bids.