The initial cost estimate for Macomb's new middle school is higher than the district projected so the administration is asking architects for a revised plan.
Superintendent Patrick Twomey said he expected the school to cost around $17 million. But the first plan submitted by the district’s architects would cost around $19 million.
Dr. Twomey said the architects have about a month to come up with a less expensive design.
“And then we (the district’s finance and facilities committees) have to decide whether or not we want to take money from other places to make up the difference and go ahead and build the $19 million (school), or whether we’re okay taking some of those things out of there and only spending the $17 million,” he said.
Twomey said the district will try to find cost-savings that won’t impact the educational experience. He said, for example, the original plan called for the gymnasium to serve as the building’s tornado-safe space.
“That entire structure would be pre-cast concrete. All the kids in one place. But it’s going to withstand a tornado,” said Twomey.
“I now know that you could harden four classrooms in each pod, and put in FEMA-rated windows like they do in Florida for hurricanes, and get the same result. And that’s far cheaper doing the smaller spaces than that huge span of a roof in a gymnasium.”
The district will pay for construction of the middle school with money generated by the county’s one-cent sales tax for schools.
Twomey hopes some money might also be available through the state’s new capital projects bill.