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Beaverton school bond plan hit by rising costs

School Board might change construction plans as part of district's $195 million bond

Skyrocketing construction costs and inflation are smacking around Beaverton School District's plans for its $195 million bond on the November general election ballot.

Increased costs for just about everything associated with new buildings means the district would might need an extra $43 million to build classrooms, buy land for future schools and make improvements.

The School Board will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss possible adjustments to the bond amount or scope of projects the district hopes to complete.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the district's administration office, 16550 S.W. Merlo Road.

In addition to discussion by the board, the public will have two chances to comment during the meeting.

One of the major issues is an increase of between 17 percent and 30 percent for building materials.

Bud Moore, deputy superintendent for operations and support services, said construction costs continue to fluctuate, putting pressure on the district's plans.

'It really depends on what month you look at costs,' said Moore. 'They're real variable. They're all over the board.'

While wood prices are down at the moment, steel prices remain high. Another major factor related to construction are higher trucking costs due to the increased cost of diesel fuel for semis to transport their products.

Moore said cost-of-living increases were discussed during bond amount deliberations last year. As a result, $22 million was placed inside the total bond amount to handle inflationary costs.

'In reality, that wasn't enough,' said Moore.

Moore said he expects Tuesday's meeting to include discussion on whether the $195 million bond amount remains the same and possible adjustments for projects already planned.

'My own personal feeling right now is we'd stick with the $195 million,' said board Chairwoman Priscilla Turner.

Although the May bond failed because it did not draw out more than 50 percent of registered voters, 61 percent of those who voted were in favor of the measure, said Turner.

At the end of Tuesday's meeting, the board will determine whether any changes will be made to the bond before filing the measure with the Washington County Elections Department by the Sept. 7 deadline.

Meanwhile, Turner said Citizens for School Support, the advocacy group pushing for passage of the bond, is moving forward with its campaign.

Turner, who is a member of the group, said the steering committee has been working on plans for the November bond for the last month.

'We'll be running a very similar campaign,' said Turner.

The group expects to call on some of the same donors for the fund-raising campaign, as well as approach new donors, she said.

The campaign will focus on issues of increase enrollment including projections that there will be 700 more students who show up for the first day of school Tuesday, Turner said.