Work to begin on Everett schools admin building

Construction is expected to begin next month on the Everett School District’s new two-story, $16.96 million administration building.

The bid was awarded to BNCC Inc., of Steilacoom. The building is expected to open in the fall 2013, said Mike Gunn, the school district’s director of facilities and operations.

The 66,365-square-foot building is being built on what is now an empty lot owned by the school district near the corner of Broadway and 41st Street SE, adjacent to the Everett AquaSox baseball field.

Ten companies bid on the project, with estimates ranging from $16.9 million to $18.8 million.

The winning bid included the price for extra items, which add $261,000 to the building’s cost: an additional driveway on the west side of the property, an additional building elevator and energy-saving LED lighting.

The $16.96 million bid is just for the cost of building construction. The total amount will be higher: sales tax, inspections, furniture and equipment, design fees and change orders are expected to increase the price to $23.8 million.

The money for the administration building came from a variety of sources, including about $12.8 million from state matching funds saved from previous school construction projects and $11 million from rent, past property sales, interest and rebates from utilities grants.

BNCC is the same company building the new $16.1 million View Ridge Elementary School. View Ridge is expected to open in the fall, although some work on the site, such as removing the portable classrooms, won’t be finished until early winter, Gunn said.

Plans for the administration building show the school board’s meeting room will be on the first floor and have seating for 108 people. The current board room is cramped, and members of the public are often left standing in the hall as they wait to speak to the board.

In April, the school board also approved setting aside office space in the new building for the Everett Public School Foundation. It currently contributes about $250,000 annually to school district projects.

Discussions on the need for a new administration building go back about two decades, said Jeff Russell, school board president.

Administrative offices had 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.

A series of community meetings were held in 2008 to discuss plans for a new administration building. Those plans were scuttled in 2009 because of the economic recession.

Plans for the building were revised last year. Ultimately, the school board decided to move ahead with the project, bundling it in one vote with plans to rebuild cinder tracks at Cascade and Jackson high schools.

Work will begin next month on the two track projects, which are expected to be completed by the time school opens in the fall.

However, parents also have been lobbying for replacing the grass practice fields at both schools with synthetic turf. Replacement of both fields is expected to cost nearly $3.1 million.

Russell said he wanted to wait until construction on the administration building is well under way to make sure there aren’t unexpected costs on that project before making a decision and whether to go ahead with the practice field projects.

Discussion of the practice field projects could take place by year’s end, he said.

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

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