VHS Addition

This architect’s drawing shows how the exterior of the new addition to Vermillion High School likely will appear when completed, along with a blueprint of the structure showing the location of offices and a classroom for the district’s alternative school.

The Vermillion School Board received additional information Monday concerning its plans to build an addition onto Vermillion High School that will house administration offices and an alternative school classroom.

It also received a rough estimate of the new construction’s cost. It will likely be a little over $2 million, according to Sean Ervin, an architect with TSP, an architectural and engineering firm located in Sioux Falls.

“We’ve been making some good factors,” Ervin said. “We’ve got work factors; we’re starting to figure out exactly how things impact the costs of things. We know that the hot water and the chilled water (in the high school) do have capacity for this expansion. Our engineers have reviewed the site; they’ve looked at where they need to connect. They’ve written narratives to help our estimator understand exactly what kind of impact those things will have.”

As more information is learned about the building site, the ability to come up with an accurate cost estimate increases, Ervin said.

“We start to understand exactly what it takes to connect the building,” he said. “What we don’t have yet are costs for soil borings. That’s typically something we have done early in the process. We haven’t done that yet because we thought it would be valuable to have this discussion with the board first before we make a commitment to somebody else to make some borings.

“What they’ll do is they’ll drill holes down and tell us what the bearing capacity of the soil is as we design the addition,” Ervin said. “(They’ll tell us if) we don’t have an addition that sinks or rises because of clay or because of water issues or other things that are unidentified yet.”

The planners have determined that there are a couple of utility lines buried close to the front end of the building.

“It looks right now like we’ll have to move those or protect them at a very minimum and so we haven’t done a final survey of the site just yet because we thought that would be helpful to have happen after this early estimate,” he said.

The report submitted to the board Monday, Ervin added, doesn’t include the cost for adding canopies to the north side of the existing high school building to improve the structure’s appearance.

The canopies can be designated as alternates when bids are let, he said.

“Those kinds of alternates are the things that help you get enough flexibility so that when you are receiving bids, you can adjust that bid to what you want to be, to match up with your budgeting ability,” Ervin said.

If all goes as planned, the Vermillion School District’s administration offices will be relocated to the new addition to the Vermillion High School building at about the time classes begin in the fall of 2020.

The school board, which has been exploring the option of moving top administrators out of a downtown office building that it leases for approximately $4,000 per month, set plans in motion in April to go ahead with a process that will eventually lead to the new construction at the high school.

The addition will house the offices of Vermillion School Superintendent Damon Alvey, Business Manager Sheila Beermann, and their support staff.

The new structure will also house the school district’s alternative school, which currently is located in a strip mall on Vermillion’s Cherry Street.

Last April, the board decided to pursue plans in which the new addition surrounds the shows the northeast corner of the Thomas H. Craig Center for the Performing Arts.

“We’ve done a number of bids in Vermillion and there are some special considerations in Vermillion,” Ervin said as board members reviewed a cost estimate report he had submitted.  “We have a limited contractor pool in Vermillion so we try to recognize that as we put a value to things.”

Cost estimates and contingency fund amount are based, in part, on things that are still unknown.

“We haven’t done all of the design just yet; we don’t have the actual contour map just yet to know how much higher or lower that the more northerly entrance to the east is compared to the regular main entrance,” he said. “I’m guessing it’s a little bit lower.

“We try to put in there a regular value to recognize that there are still some unknowns built into that,” Ervin said.

He listed several other factors that must be accounted for when making a cost estimate ranging from putting up barricades and a work trailer, to overhead profit to the contractor and the contractor’s excise tax.

“If you look at the total, out-of-pocket costs for the district, not including a couple things that I mentioned earlier such as those north canopies and the soil borings … the cost is just over $2 million,” Ervin said. “It’s a little bit higher from where we started.”

Engineers discussed placing some of the building’s equipment in an enclosed room or a penthouse rather than on the new addition’s roof.

“When we do that, there are some costs to doing that enclosure. The units themselves are slightly  cheaper so there’s a little bit of an offset there, but actually constructing a room that wasn’t in the original estimate does have a cost to it,” he said.

The approximate $2 million estimate includes placing the equipment on the addition’s roof, Ervin said, as well as the replacement of sidewalk and pavement that will have to be removed when the construction begins.

“These are obviously just predictions of costs,” Superintendent Damon Alvey said. “What in your experience, when you go out to bid -- obviously it depends on the market at the time. Do you get a feeling that we would get a favorable bid, letting this fall could things be more competitive? I’m trying to look at places that we might not see the same full amount (as in the report). Any predictions on what the work looks like in the fall that we could get a lot of interest in this project?”

“I think this is a reasonably-sized project for Yankton contractor … as well as being big enough to attract a few contractors from Sioux Falls as potential bidders,” Ervin said. “I think we’ll have a reasonable bid pool. It really depends on just how busy those contractors are.”

Board members agreed to have its Building Meeting more closely review TSP’s report as it had received the information earlier that day.

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