The Lafayette Parish school system has set a maximum price tag for its new high school in Youngsville: no more than $62.3 million, an amount slightly less than the initial budget estimate for the project.
The parish School Board’s Facilities Committee on Tuesday also heard an update on a major construction and renovation project for Milton Elementary and Middle School.
Areas for both the Milton and Youngsville schools have experienced rapid population growth in recent years, with Milton approaching its 1,200-student capacity and the new high school in Youngsville set to somewhat ease overcrowding issues by accommodating about 1,750 students.
The district’s bill for the new high school will not exceed $62.3 million, according to a figure presented by The Lemoine Co. and unanimously approved by the three-member committee.
The actual cost could come in lower than that, said Kyle Bordelon, director of planning and facilities.
“It is that: a guaranteed maximum price,” Bordelon said.
The board hired The Lemoine Co. in November as a “construction manager at risk” to oversee pricing for the new high school, which will be built at expedited speed.
“Our goal is to get the ninth- and 10th-graders to school for the fall of 2017,” said Will Lemoine, of The Lemoine Co.
The “construction manager at risk” method is different from the traditional design-bid-build method used for most public projects, as the School Board would have been able to choose another contractor if it didn’t accept the company’s pricing for the project.
It also is designed to expedite construction by having construction expertise on the front end of the design process rather than after the fact, which can lead to delays from design changes and can result in the need to rebid a project that comes in over budget.
Eric Crozier, of the Lafayette architecture firm Abell + Crozier + Davis, said his team has been working with The Lemoine Co. to identify the project’s needs and costs.
He said the final price will not come in until after architects have completed their drawings, even though initial construction will begin before that.
“We’re moving dirt in May,” Crozier said. “Before we’re done with the drawings, we’re already procuring materials. Steel might hit the ground before we’re done with drawings.”
The first phase of the high school is set for completion by July 2017, with its second phase — to include outdoor athletic facilities and career and technical classrooms — set for completion about six months later, Crozier said.
The three-story school will be a little more than 256,800 square feet.
An estimated $15.67 million project at Milton Elementary and Middle School is still in early planning stages, with MBSB Group leading the effort, according to information presented at Tuesday’s meeting.
Construction documents and bidding for that project should be done by the end of the year, with construction set to begin in early 2017 and completed by the fall 2018 semester, said Mark Stielper, principal architect with MBSB Group.
Stielper said about 28,000 square feet of the school’s existing 85,000 square feet of classroom space is in portable buildings that his team is working to eliminate from the property.
“Our goal is to eliminate all or as many modular buildings as possible and plan for additional expansion,” Stielper said.
The project team also is working to address traffic issues by building new vehicle lanes on school grounds, as traffic queues more than 1,000 feet down nearby roads during drop-off and pickup times.
The school system already acquired two parcels of property to expand the school’s grounds, with a third parcel set for acquisition, Stielper said. The school grounds will total about 15 acres once the transactions are complete.
Other issues likely to be addressed during construction are accessibility issues for disabled people; installing an air-conditioning unit inside the gym and upgrading existing units; and upgrading drainage and sewerage systems on the property.
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.