EDUCATION

The price of construction materials continues to increase and Killeen Independent School District Superintendent John Craft wants to be sure everyone knows it may seriously impact future building projects in the district.

At Tuesday’s KISD board of trustees workshop, Craft opened the discussion on the proposed forthcoming bond issue by making note of how such increases affected past projects, and will do so in the future.

He compared the cost of building the new Fowler Elementary School, which opened in 2014, to that of Alice Douse Elementary School. The same basic design was used for each school, but the cost increase, or annual escalation figure, between the two amounted to 11 percent.

“Those are real numbers we are seeing in just a three-year time period,” Craft said.

Another comparison was made between Patterson Middle School and the newly opened Roy J. Smith Middle School. Because the two buildings were substantially different, Craft pointed out, the amount could not be exact, but the annual escalation figure amounted to about 8.8 percent.

Comparing the district’s 2013 Strategic Facility Plan — on which both Douse and Smith schools were listed — and the 2017 version, the increases in costs for both buildings is clear.

In 2013, Douse was estimated to cost $23.175 million. By 2017, that amount had jumped to $30.26 million.

Smith Middle School was projected to cost $29.45 million in 2013. By 2017, the amount had increased to $46.7 million.

With the recent hurricanes causing so much devastation across the Gulf Coast in Texas and Florida, Craft noted how that will be an additional factor in construction cost increases.

“Construction escalation costs are upward of 10 percent now,” Craft said, and could go higher.

The elementary school and middle school construction projects discussed at last week’s KISD board workshop will be funded through facilities monies currently budgeted.

The cost for those has risen, as well.

On the 2013 Strategic Facility Plan, what was designated “Elementary School No. 35” listed costs of $25.8 million. As of 2017, that cost had risen to $37.13 million.

Middle School No. 14 showed $32.3 million as the cost on the 2013 Strategic Facility Plan. On the present list, that amount has increased to more than $54 million.

KISD board members, along with Craft, acknowledge the continued growth of the district warrants the construction of new schools.

The concern about escalating costs is a key reason the district is forming a bond steering committee with an eye toward holding a bond election May 5.

A number of potential projects for that bond issue are listed on the district’s Strategic Facility Plan. They include a new high school estimated to cost $173 million and a new sports stadium that could run $50 million, according to Craft.

Three elementary schools and a middle school featured on the Strategic Facility Plan slated for construction over the next 10 years are also under consideration.

Necessary repairs and renovations to a dozen older school buildings in the district will be discussed by the bond steering committee.

The inclusion of all projects would bring the total of the bond issue to well over half a billion dollars.

The KISD bond steering committee’s first meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. Thursday at Harker Heights High School, 1001 E. Farm-to-Market 2410.

254-501-7568 | jferraro@kdhnews.com

(1) comment

perugipj

I wish my salary increased by 11 percent a year. Then I might have some money left over to to pay for these bond issues. Stop this madness in its tracks, folks.

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