Seismic work, expanded auditorium behind $18 million cost jump for South Salem High renovation | Salem Reporter

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The decision to build a larger auditorium and the unexpected earthquake and street costs have increased the cost of refurbishing South Salem High School by $18 million, and construction has just begun.

This is an increase of 27% from the original budget of $66 million for this work. The renovation project will cost US$84 million and is by far the most expensive package of the Salem Kitzel School District project. The project will expand 6 middle schools and dozens of primary and secondary schools in the next five years.

Taxpayers need no more than the $620 million in bonds approved in the spring of 2018, and voters on these bonds have already paid property taxes. District officials said they would invest emergency funds for such overspending.

The renovation will add classrooms and a new auxiliary gymnasium to the school,

The school's work began this spring to demolish the old Leslie Middle School, and until December, the school was located at Howard Street Charter School. The expansion of South Salem is scheduled to be completed before school starts in the fall of 2021.

The project has been tendered and five contracts have been signed, so regional leaders do not want these costs to rise further.

"We are going through or most of the riskiest part of the project. We have demolished this building. We know what the underground is like," said Joel Smallwood, the construction planning manager for the area. )Say.

There are two main reasons for the increase.

First, regional leaders expanded their work in the southern region, after the country’s net income was $65 million higher than net bond sales in 2018.

In this way, the design team of each school has the opportunity to make suggestions for the planned work.

Chief Operating Officer Mike Wolf said that in the south, early plans called for a new school auditorium with approximately 600 seats, almost the size of all other middle school auditoriums in the area.

This will reduce seating compared to the current Rose Hall, which is one of Salem Kaiser’s larger performing arts facilities, with a capacity of 940 people.

Wolf said that performing arts employees are concerned about reducing the total number of auditoriums in the school system.

These conversations clearly show that Ross's ability is important not only to the South, but also to the entire region and Salem. Wolf said that the auditorium often hosts large-scale performances, including non-regional events.

He said: “Not replacing Rose with seats of the same size will cause a major blow to the community.”

The configuration of the Southern Auditorium has changed, adding 300 seats and a cost of $6.5 million.

Wolf said that the seismic work added another $8 million to the price of the project.

The early project design mainly required foundation work and roof reinforcement.

Wolfe said: "Once we had a contractor, we found that more seismic reinforcement work was needed." This included strengthening the school's corridors and walls.

Smallwood said the progress of the project has pushed up the cost of additional seismic work. The goal of the district is to complete most of the building's interior decoration work this summer and next summer to minimize interference with classroom teaching.

Smallwood said that completing the more extensive earthquake renovation work while adhering to the schedule meant that the crew would have to pay a large amount of overtime and work six days a week.

Two smaller factors also increase the cost. Smallwood said that about $2 million more is needed for permit requirements, including the expansion of Howard Street to about three blocks north of the school.

A city review found that the school’s fire alarm system needed to be replaced rather than upgraded, which also increased costs.

Smallwood and Wolfe said that another $2 million is needed to cover rising construction costs.

Wolf said one factor contributing to this growth is the new state business activity tax. The contractor pays these additional costs and passes them on to the bid.

Smallwood said the design team responsible for the West and Sprague Middle School plans will be kept "very closely" in the original budget. These two schools are the newest schools in the area and are overcrowded. Their construction is scheduled to start next spring.

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