Article: High School Project Budget Carefully Developed & Vetted

High School Project Budget Carefully Developed & Vetted

* Published by Bill Flynn, Board of Education Member

As a member of the board of education, I take my role in serving our schools and community seriously and this includes ensuring strong fiscal management and careful planning so that we get the most out of the investment we all make in the Mariemont City Schools.

I am thankful for the hundreds of community members, staff and industry experts who participated in our extensive, well-vetted engagement process to identify the challenges we need to solve at Mariemont High School and to develop a long-term permanent solution to fix these challenges.

As someone who was an active participant every step of the way, I want to share some additional information in response to some questions I have been hearing about the development of the program budget for Mariemont High School.

Much of the discussion and work that occurred over the two-year process was focused on working with industry experts to understand the challenges, explore potential solutions and options and ultimately develop the final vision and facility plan for the high school. Once this work was finished, the next important step was the development of the budget. And this was a step that we considered of utmost importance and one that deserved due diligence.

To accomplish this, we, in partnership with our Community Finance Committee, had two independent cost models developed. One model was developed by our construction manager and the other was developed by the school district’s owner representatives, an independent industry expert team. The purpose of this modeling process was to consider the costs associated with the entire project that includes direct construction costs (demolition, site work, structural framing, mechanical systems, etc.), indirect construction costs (temporary housing, insurance fees, construction management fees, etc.) and school district soft costs (architectural fees, geotech services, technology planning, etc.). 

Once these models were developed, we then worked collaboratively to reconcile the differences and finalize a budget that we all agreed was sufficient to bring the high school vision that our community teams developed to life. So the entire process included community input regarding the vision for the school, community recommendations regarding the overall budget, industry experts to offer input and validation of the community vision and finally verification that the numbers being presented to voters would be able to offer a high-quality, no frills option for voters to consider.

The next step comes after Election day. If Issue 2 is approved by our community, that is when our architectural team will begin the final building design and the development of blueprints. This is typical for a school facilities project and process.There are not specific blueprints yet nor should there be right now. Blueprints involve extensive architectural work and we are not to that point. Moreover, our schools are not going to spend what they do not have to create these detailed plans unless this is the direction that the community determines they need to go. This follows our practice of responsible fiscal management. Likewise, bidding for the various aspects of this project won’t occur until later either.  Quite frankly, it can’t be until the final design is completed and no contractor would bid on a design that is not finalized and is several months away from commencing.

I am confident in the project budget that has been developed.  It has been thoroughly vetted.  It is fiscally responsible. It will allow us to finally solve ALL of the challenges we face at Mariemont High School and it preserves excellence for all students across all of our schools.

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