Building a new school

Ok, anyone here have experience with school construction? Our school district is asking for a ton of money to build the most abstract design of a school you have ever seen. We are a small community and this could bankrupt the town. However, we do need more space. I'm looking for a place to find out what the rules in school construction might be. One big "for instance" would be,,,, Can a school be built from the same kind of steel truss buildings that those huge airplane hangers are constructed from? These hangers seem to stay standing. Also I see quite a few other building being built and looking rather good from these steel truss buildings. Has anyone been involved in this kind of construction? Lou
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What's your connection to the project? Has the design been approved? Who's decision is it? Have cost estimates been prepared? What's the budget? What's the building made of? How big is it?
You may not like the design, (it could be genuinely awful) but without more info, that could be totally irrelevant.
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MichaelB
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I'm one of the 70% of the taxpayers who are saying no. On the other hand we do need anothe building.

Only by the school board. Thay may sound final, but.......

Referendum votes.

No, this is a sore subject. Only a ballpark figure from one contractor. The school board refuses to send it out to bid.

45,000,000 Also a sore subject seeing how residential, industrial, and commercial builder can build the same square footage for half the price. But since it's tax money the price goes up.

Block and brick

That, I'll have to get back to you on.

Actually the design is award winning. It is full of wasted floor space, unbelievable distances from the shared facilities an very scary lengths for fire drills. It looks good but... Lou

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You need to boot out the local school mafia !!!
(unless you enjoy paying high taxes to subsidize the extravagant lifestyle of your "superintendents"). In NJ, Toms River, one of those charlatans is raking in $225k/yr - and his cronies on the school board saw fit to renew his contract.
There's no reason the local school mafia where you're at should be wasting your tax dollars on an "award winning" design. What's wrong with a basic building ?
Take those issues you raise, and get the word out! (equate it to higher taxes, then see how quick the support for it vanishes).
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Finding the keyboard operational nospam entered:

Toms River is pikers compared to Garfield in Bergen County.We have janitors making > 100K. Plus we got 2 new schools built by the state using your tax dollars. No parking for the teachers so now they clog the local streets and parents dropping their children off. Of course our school taxes are going up by 25% to run the schools. Theyy are nice looking buildings. It's a shame the builders go out of business right after they are built so someone else has to correct the problems. Bob
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This sounds like one of those "white-flight" scenarios where affluent, trendy yuppies flee to semi-rural developments in their Mercedes and BMW SUVs and bring their high-dollar, trendy tastes with them. Affluent, trendy yuppies wanting bragging rights for their affluent, trendy kids?
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Quite the opposite. Mostly lower income families pushing out the middle class. The school system was/is so bad that <50% passed the standarized tests and > 50% are ESL. The state has taken over the school board to stop them from some of the more ridiculous spending like a 4 day all expense paid trip to Atlantic City with spouses. The new schools are replacing very old buildings. Like Lincoln school which was renamed when Lincoln died. No I am not kidding about the above. Bob
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How can you vote on it if you don't know what it caosts?

Sounds like a big school.

That's typical, but I meant the spanning system...floors and roof. (You brought it up.)

Award-winning doesn't mean squat. It probably means that it is less than the most efficient thing. You sound like you have a political problem larger than your architectural one. Public buildings are generally built to a higher standards than private ones, but that doesn't mean they have to be extravagant.
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"Lou" wrote ...

Given the questions asked by MB and the answers you provided, I see that you are mostly concerned about getting this done as cheaply as possible. Which is an honest concern for a citizen that who's property taxes are paying for it. Although I think you lack some info on how the process works. Typically in the US, most public school projects fall under the states jurisdiction which also may have some federal assistance. The design firm should have had a budget and design criteria going into the project so that $45 mil, may or may not be a realistic number. Especially if it comes from just one contractor. Usually, once the design is made based on the budget and criteria, the school board will ask for the money from the state. Bonds are usually sold along with state and federal funds that pay for the project. A thing to keep in mind is that these bonds may have a life of 20-30 years. In other words, that $45 mil doesn't come out of your pocket all at once. Since this is a public owned facility, many bids will be accepted before a contractor is approved, so that $45mil may be way off. About the design, you have to keep in mind that since those bonds will have a long life, the building must at least out live the life of the bond. There are other factors as well, fire resistance, expected growth of the population, etc. In a nut shell, if you are really concerned about this, go to the school board meetings, ask questions, and provide you concerns. And by all means don't base your opinions on barber-shop chit-chat.
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Given the questions asked by MB and the answers you provided, I see that you

Actually, cheap has nothing to do with it, I'm more concerned with waste.
Although I think you lack some info on how the process works. I'm sure that I do lack info on the process but so far everything that I have been learning is the opposite of what is being done.

I agree, but with this one, a number was pick out of a hat from, of all people, the architecht. by the way, he gets a 2.5m bonus upon completion.

I also agree, but the school board and the school officials have not asked the state They have gone straight to the public with the blurb "don't you care about the kids?"

Again, agreed. The building was designed to only accomodate the current overcrowding along with the anticipated next 3 years growth. In other words it will be to capacity by the time it is completed.

I go to every meeting, take notes and ask questions. These are not bright people but they have one thing I don't, money to get there cause out, I can't even get a newspaper reporter to attend. Lou
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More likely a payment installment.
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I'm serious in wondering why a school district doesn't get clever and try to buy a couple dozen of the mobile housing units sitting around amongts the thousands brought down to Louisiana after the Katrina hurricane?
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<%= Clinton Gallagher
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I've built quite a few schools over the last 15 years and they are all spread out money/ space wasters. A multi story rectangle would be the most efficient just like schools used to be. Elevators and backup generators can null any ADA issues as well as creating public shelters in time of disaster. The bottom line is it is not the school boards money it is your money and your neighbors. I built two middle schools right next to each other that were the exact same design about five years apart, instead of correcting whatever dimensions that were wrong with the first school every bit of iron in the second school was wrong in exactly the same places.
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For some unknown reasons, it seems public buildings enter the land of "wants" combined with less "needs". I fought the same thing here when our new library went in last year. We could have built a pre-engineered metal building with decent asthetics that served every function a library would need @ about 70% of the cost of the stick frame. But......... Overall it's functional & pretty but why did we need 16' ceilings with a side wall full of glass that overlooks the road and houses below? (Hardly a view so to speak) For what was spent on stick frame vs pre-engineered, we could have added a full walkout basement & doubled the square footage.

Here's where things tend to get screwy. The laws governing 'public buildings', and the requirements therein, impose some really stupid standards that are, to me anyway, designed to screw the public. Our library had to have a 'special sign' made that cost about 6 times what it should/could have. I've forgotten what it was now but it sure PMO'd at the time. It was something in the nature of $700 vs about $100. The $100 being what any normal business could have produced the sign for.

As long as the building meets codes, laws and approvals, why not? Most any pre-engineered metal building can be made to work with any codes.

Just as a matter of curiosity, why don't you contact a metal building mfg. like Butler, Garco, Varco Pruden and get a 'rough cost' on square footage for a shell in your area. It would be a start to go back the board with. Then write an editorial letter to your local paper & voice your concerns. Flyers around town from your computer asking for a public meeting with other local residents to address relevant issues pertaining to costs. Talk to/invite your county/state officials. In general, you need to raise enough hell to get heard. But never take an adversarial attitude, keep it STRICTLY business and have the answers before the questions are raised.
Dan
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Dan, The flyers are coming, I do have a rough sq. ft. for the metal buildings, I've designed a layout for a new school using this system along with future expansion for future use rather than building new buildings. Now I'm working on estimating cost to build the schools. You see I've been a commercial carpenter for the last 25 years and have seen this practice of deep tax payer pockets in use. Believe it or not, the hard part is getting people together in meeting to discuss such things. I have found the best place to speak is at the school board meetings when the public actually shows up. Lou
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Oh the reasons are well known. No public job gets awarded unless money has bought some new friend.

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lou
what ever you deside to do
whne the gym floor is finished and poluudrethqne varnish is used make sudre no piolt lights are on like water heaters--we lost an entire brand new school when it caught on fire this way
hth pter

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