Bids for the construction of the renovation and expansion of the Mt. Daniel Elementary School opened last weekend came in 21 percent higher than expected, Falls Church Interim School Superintendent Dr. Robert Schiller announced to the School Board at its budget work session Tuesday night. The news came as a shocker to the board, which is struggling with how to keep expenses for the coming year down despite a continuing veritable explosion in school enrollment.
Schiller said that while further negotiations with prospective contractors will be required, he will be going to the City Council with a revision to the schools’ request for its capital improvement (CIP) submitted just last week. The increase in construction costs over estimates is related to the year-long delay in the project after the passage of a bond referendum due to its inability to be approved by the Fairfax County Planning Commission for a length of time.
In other matters at Tuesday’s School Board meeting, the board put off a final vote on the budget it will forward to the City Council for the coming fiscal year until its meeting next Tuesday. However, the board did agree to hold its request to a 3.7 percent increase, one percent above the guideline it was presented by the City Council and still with many needs unmet.
With respect to the high school campus project, the board determined to task Schiller with drafting a request for proposal for a feasibility study that would evaluate a number of different options for the site, all premised on the agreement that a single-phase construction of a new high school will be at its base. The feasibility study, to be completely quickly and at a cost of about $100,000, would provide the basis for the drafting of a formal request for proposal for construction, all hopefully to be decided in time for the last-July deadline to place a bond referendum on the November ballot.