MADISON — A $10 million budget overage has prompted the Board of Education to revise its original plans for the construction of a new elementary school, including shrinking classroom sizes, and may bring a request for additional funds within the next few months.
In a special meeting on December 13, Adam Levitus of Colliers International, the owner’s representative for the project, told the board that the most recent estimates for the project came in at $56.5 million — nearly $10 million above the $46.6 million approved for the cost. He said said the cost hike was due to rapid increases in construction prices and new enrollment projections that required the addition of four more classrooms to the building footprint.
“It’s a difficult situation that we find ourselves in because of the supply chain issues raising costs and inflation raising costs,” Seth Klaskin, chair of the Board of Education, said in a meeting on Tuesday.
In the Tuesday meeting, the board approved reducing the building perimeter by tightening the exterior walls on the building, which would shrink the area of some of the classrooms, including kindergarten through 5th grade general classrooms, a world language classroom and a music classroom. The total decrease in space would amount to about 1,700 square feet out of a 90,000 square foot building area.
The revised plan would also eliminate radiant floor heating in the Pre-K classrooms and as well as kitchen equipment and would combine bathrooms in the 1st and 2nd grade classrooms. The changes will amount to about $3 million in savings. Levitus said the developer made the changes with the goal of reducing learning space as little as possible.
Although the cost savings from changes to the project and the additional appropriation would not address the entire $9.9 million overage, Levitus said it wasn’t necessary to cut the entire $9.9 million now because the design was not complete.
Minutes from the Dec. 13 school building committee meeting discuss the possibility of requesting an additional $5 million from the Board of Selectmen to be added to the project budget.
But Peggy Lyons, first selectwoman of Madison, told CT Examiner in an email on Friday that the building committee was still working through the budget numbers, and that the current design numbers were based on estimates. She said she expected the Board of Selectmen to get a full update on the budget in February or March, when they would discuss any remaining concerns.
“The [Board of Selectmen] would not be taking any formal action, if needed, until things are more final,” Lyons said in her email.