‘Multi-use’ runs millions over budget

A bombshell was dropped on school board trustees regarding the “multi-use” facility last night–the project was over budget by almost $2.7 million.
Trustees approved a spending increase to meet the overdraft by a vote of eight to six after a drawn-out debate.
Director of Education John McLeod said no one was happy to hear the C.A. Ventin architects and Daoust construction managers report that, due to market conditions, building the school for the $14.5 million originally budgeted couldn’t happen.
He added the board had been successful keeping the project under budget until the masonry tenders, which came in at $1.3 million over budget.
And unlike the electrical/mechanical tenders, where jobs and items could be removed to reduce costs, McLeod said the masonry figure was firm.
Some trustees suggested stopping the project or at least postponing it. But McLeod argued more delays will just jack up costs further.
Unexpected problems also have risen during construction. The north and west wall of Westfort need to be replaced entirely, according to C.A. Ventin and Daoust.
As well, a water line around the school had to be added to the plans under the request of the fire department.
Because of these unexpected items, McLeod, along with representatives from C.A. Ventin and Daoust, will be approaching the ministry for more funds.
But the real kicker has been the economy, McLeod remarked, which has made it a very expensive time to build.
He added the town’s isolated location made it an expensive place to build. With the numerous school contracts in Ontario and the flood repair work in Manitoba, the building market is saturated.
“The allotment came in 1993, when everyone would have been looking for work and this would come within budget,” he pointed out. “The economy has changed.”