Price tag for high school is typical

Letter to the Editor

For all this weeks letters, please subscrive to the Valley Record, (425) 888-2311

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 2:40am
  • Opinion

In his April 25 letter, Jerry Venera asks a good question: why will our new high school cost $109.9 million when Ellensburg built a similar school for $32 million?

The Ellensburg project was not a completely new building. The library, a gym and one classroom building were re-used from their old school – and the site was already developed. But the biggest reason is inflation. Between second-quarter 2003 (when the bid was awarded) and fourth-quarter 2006, the cost of “nonresidential structures” across the nation rose 35.4 percent (U.S. Deptment of Commerce). Almost 12 percent per year came in 2005 and 2006.

Regionally, a continuing boom in commercial construction plus the 2010 Vancouver Olympics makes it difficult for school bids to compete. In 2003, the average high-school construction bid was about $175 per square foot (State of Washington OSPI). The most recent high-school bid in our state (Granite Falls High School, bid August 2006) was $260 per square foot.

This $260-per-square-foot bid for a “typical” high school became the Facilities Task Force’s baseline for future cost estimates. Let’s do the math:

* $260 per square foot x three more years of 12 percent inflation (36 percent) = $353 per square foot in August 2009 when the bid will be awarded.

* $353 per square foot x 225,000 square feet = $79.4 million materials and labor “hard” costs

* Add industry-standard 30 percent for “soft costs” (design, fees, permits, sales tax, furniture, fixtures, equipment) = $103.2 million

* Add heating, cooling and athletic field costs and you have $109.9 million – the estimated cost of our new high school.

A $100 million-plus high school is the reality we are faced with. It will only get more expensive with time. Please remember to vote “YES” on May 15.

Jim Reitz

Facilities Task Force member

North Bend



In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Should the King County sheriff be elected or appointed? | Roegner

In addition to candidate races this November, there will be policy questions… Continue reading

A large webset offset printing press running a long roll off paper over its rollers at high speed. File photo
Editorial: Tax credit proposal would aid local journalism

Bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House would offer tax credits to advertisers and subscribers.

Richard Elfers is a columnist, a former Enumclaw City Council member and a Green River College professor.
Age of insanity for the left and the right

Do you feel that, like the COVID-19 pandemic, insane behavior is spreading… Continue reading

Don Brunell
Coronavirus comeback for Alaska Airlines?

It is no secret that airlines were clobbered by the coronavirus pandemic.… Continue reading

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Reopen schools in fall, but do it safely

Don’t bully schools into reopening. Protect our students.

Ranked choice voting would strengthen our democracy

Although our beloved democracy is facing many challenges (voter suppression and attacks… Continue reading

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Why this newspaper is capitalizing Black | Editorial

Moving forward, the Snoqualmie Valley Record will capitalize Black when referring to… Continue reading

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading

Bob Roegner
Democrats have the edge in WA’s 2020 elections

Last year, most political insiders thought 2020 would be a big Democratic… Continue reading

Superintendent Robert Manahan
We must stand up for justice, equality and respect | Guest column

Dear Snoqualmie Valley students, staff and families, It’s hard to put into… Continue reading