Peninsula School District’s construction costs don’t add up

June 25, 2014 

Most people would agree that a new elementary school is needed at Gig Harbor North. There is reasonable debate about the need to tear down Artondale or renovate, and the biggest problem I have is the inability of the Peninsula School District (PSD) to defend the costs.

I attended an information meeting at Henderson Bay High School hoping to gain insight to support the proposals only to leave with a feeling of no confidence in PSD leadership. I have never attended a PSD meeting before, and was very disappointed in the lack of depth of the presentation. When pressed for the breakdown of the costs, Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto had no reasonable answer. We should just trust that $25 million is what a new elementary school should cost? This is for a 50,000-square-foot building, which works out to $500 per-square-foot! Does anyone see a problem with that?

I looked up construction costs published by “Reed Construction Data News,” which reported that the cost for an elementary school in the Seattle region was $177.35 per-square-foot for 2013. How do we get to $500 per-foot? That is a lot of desks, chairs and computers. Chuck claims he is relying on the same architects, engineers and contractors who will be doing the work, but he could offer no detail as to where the money is going.

Unfortunately, I left the meeting without any confidence that my tax dollars were being carefully watched or considered. The leaders at PSD just do not get it; the taxpayers deserve more information, not the self-serving power point they came up with.

Dan White

Fox Island

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