District identifies ways to pay for potential cost overrun
By Oliver Lazenby
The Blaine school board on January 28 voted unanimously to move forward with a 2,000-seat high school grandstand design that may cost more than the district budgeted in its $12 million April 2018 capital levy.
The district’s architect for the project, Bellingham-based Zervas Architects, previously presented a scaled-back design with seating for 1,600 – a compromise made to keep the project in budget, as the district’s plan called for closer to 2,000 seats.
“We went back to the drawing board and went back to an idea that would encompass the whole 2,000 seats that we heard was a big priority,” Zervas Architects principal Sharon Robinson said at the January 28 meeting.
The grandstand consists of two parts – stadium seating and a structure underneath that houses concession stands, storage and other things. With the design presented on January 28, Zervas made changes to reduce the cost of the building underneath. Some storage that was previously inside will now be outside but secured, for example.
Still, district officials think bids for the design could be over budget and they’ve identified ways to pay for it. For one, the district will likely have leftover contingency money from its $45 million 2015 bond. The district won’t know before high school construction is finished but so far just half of the bond’s $1.8 million contingency is needed for the high school, leaving up to $900,000 that could be used to pay for the grandstand.
The 2018 levy allocated $3.14 million for the grandstands. The levy included $900,000 in contingency money for the project, which could also be used for the grandstand.
The school board’s January 28 approval allows the district to release bid documents for the structure underneath the grandstand, which it plans to do in early February. In early March, the district plans to
award a bid.