District will gauge reaction to rising costs

New schools could top $100 million

With increases in construction materials and a desire to determine what amenities the community is willing to pay for, the Sherwood School District will survey voters again.

During its June meeting, the Sherwood School Board approved another survey designed to gauge voter attitudes and trying out alternative pricetags.

In March, a poll conducted by Moore Information found that 60 percent of voters would support an $89 million bond. However, Norm Dull of Dull Olson Weekes Architects, said construction costs have skyrocketed in recent months.

Dull said copper has gone up 70 percent, concrete is now up to $6 a cubic yard and gypsum wallboard prices have jumped by 15 percent. He said after surveying four different contractors, it's evident that the increasing cost will make a significant difference in the cost of the bond. Dull said his firm can deliver good, solid durable schools, estimating a low range of $86 million to a high range of $103 million.

'We think all this can be done for just under $100 million,' he said.

However, Dull said while the lesser amount would provide the classroom space needed, it would be more difficult to maintain such a building over the long haul.

As part of a new bond survey, the board also hopes to revisit the community's feelings on a performing arts center, covered bleachers and acquisition of land.

In the previous survey, slightly over half of the respondents didn't favor money spent toward covered bleachers at the high school football stadium.

However, board member Kevin Henry said it's not an extravagant proposal.

'We're not building the Superdome,' he said. 'We've got a stadium (that was) built in 1973 that has some safety and capacity issues that need to be taken care of.'

Jeanne Magmer of C and M Associates, told the board that the survey showed support for land acquisition.

'The land bank is one issue that tested well in your last survey,' she said.

The last survey showed mixed support for a performing arts center at the high school with 42 percent in favor and 45 percent against such a facility.

The new survey, results of which are expected to be released at the July 11 board meeting, could cost from $6,000 to 7,000, according to Magmer. The March survey cost $11,000.

The previous survey said the bond would be used for construction of a new elementary and middle school along with expansion and renovation of Sherwood High School. It also listed a new and larger performing arts center, covered bleachers and landbanking property as possible purchases