Concerned about construction costs

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 13, 2014 

I support a re-build of Ferndale High School, but I do not support the bond issue presently up for vote in February. The number does not make any sense to me.

Let's do some simple math to see why not. Let's assume that about half of the money will go toward improved infrasturcture and special purpose facilities. Improved infrastructure might include wider hallways and better networking within the new school. Special purpose facilities would include the gym, cafeteria, library, auditorium and administrative offices.

Then we are left with $62.5 million for classrooms. Two thousand students will need about 100 classrooms. This is $625,000 per classroom! Even if a typical classroom was 40 feet-by-40 feet, quite large by current standards, that puts the cost of construction at nearly $400 per square foot! Custom homes generally cost about half that, and tract homes or condos, about a quarter. Homes cost more per square foot to build because they have more walls, more plumbing, more cabinetry, more electrical -- generally more finish work per square foot than a classroom requires.

I will vote against this bond because the amount requested appears to me to be about 10 times the amount needed to do the job. Next time the school board runs a bond, I hope that they will have done the work to ask for what they actually need.

Debbie Fields

Ferndale

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