New Everett schools admin building to open

EVERETT — School district employees are moving into the new $28.3 million administration building. Most offices are expected to be open for business Tuesday, and the school board is scheduled to hold its first meeting there on Nov. 26.

The ultimate cost to build the 66,365-square-foot Everett School District building at 3900 Broadway, near 41st Street SE, was $18.1 million — 6.89 percent higher than planned but not out of line with similar projects. Changes made during construction added $1.16 million.

“The good news is the project is coming in under budget, it’s paid for out of cash, and we’ve saved $12 million by not paying interest,” said Jeff Russell, school board president. There will be long-term savings through the building’s energy efficiency, replacing the two district buildings that have the highest energy costs, he said.

The project’s total cost, including equipment, taxes, design and construction, is now estimated at $28.3 million, said Mary Waggoner, Everett School District spokeswoman. Final numbers aren’t expected until the end of the year.

Lists of changes to the building have been made in seven batches since construction began in June 2012.

In February, such changes had added $535,392 to construction costs. Part of that was for digging out and taking away petroleum-contaminated soil discovered on the site when construction was underway.

The most recent total was $129,499. That includes items such as $27,473 in electrical revisions and $56,322 for security cameras.

Though the project’s costs have increased, they remain within the school district’s budget for the project, Waggoner said.

John Schaufelberger, dean of the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments, said it’s not uncommon to have a 10 percent contingency built into construction projects.

Schaufelberger said that the Everett district’s additional costs didn’t seem out of line. “Contaminated soil, cameras added and electrical added, those things happen. We design it and two years later we build it,” he said

Previously, administrative offices have been scattered around the school district, including the Longfellow building, a former elementary school built in 1911. It was converted to an office building in 1970. School Board meetings have been held at another set of district offices at 4730 Colby Ave. The last meeting there was on Nov. 12.

Some equipment and furniture from the district’s current offices are being moved to the new building, where 140 staffers will work.

The building will have seven rooms available for use by the community. The largest, the Port Gardner room, can seat up to 275.

The room where school board meetings will be held will have space to seat about 110 people.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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