Q: What is the state reimbursement rate for Bristol Warren?
A: The base reimbursement rate is 63%, additional incentives which could increase the reimbursement rate by another 20% are available depending upon the final solution that is selected and approved. Reimbursement applies to ‘eligible’ project costs only.
Q: What is the estimated project cost?
A: The “all-in” not-to-exceed project cost including design, furnishings, technology, utility connections, move-in and appropriate contingencies is $200M. The building committee’s primary objective is to address each of the district’s programmatic needs for the lowest possible cost.
Q: What (if any) grade configuration changes are being contemplated?
A: As part of the “newer and fewer” reimbursement incentive, the Building Committee will evaluate potential consolidation of grades and buildings to maximize educational benefits and space use efficiency across all buildings.
Q: A new build option has been selected for Mt. Hope High School, but why not repair the existing building?
A: A repair would not address many of the district’s educational programming goals which were established at the very beginning of the Stage II program as required by RIDE. A project which does not meet the district’s educational programming goals is less likely to be selected for funding support. An addition/renovation option which does support the district’s Educational Program has been studied and found to be no less expensive than building new.
Furthermore, a new building lends itself to better utilization of space energy efficiency and lower long-term operational/maintenance costs, resulting in additional savings for years to come.
Q: Does the District need to borrow the entirety of the $200M not-to-exceed project cost?
A: The district does not need to borrow the full amount for the project, just the anticipated district out of pocket costs at any point in time. Upon receipt of detailed cost estimates, a comprehensive cashflow projection will be developed by the Owner's Project Manager. This cashflow projection can then be utilized to limit borrowing to only what is absolutely necessary to keep the project moving along, thus keeping borrowing charges to a minimum.
Q: Why is it so expensive to repair the existing Mt. Hope High School building when a new school will require all of the same work and then some?
A: Several have stated "The new school will need all the things and costs an upgrade will require plus new walls, roofs, ceilings gyms, fixtures , plumbing, demolition of old school, foundations." which is 100% correct.
However, the existing school also needs those exact same items in order to be brought up to current code. The walls and roofs do not meet current energy code (lack of insulation or vapor barrier). The plumbing systems do not meet low-flow or handicap accessibility requirements. Some other repairs required would be structural reinforcement, lighting and mechanical systems. It is true that the new building will require foundations, but the old building would also require extensive foundation work, in addition to steel shear bracing and seismic clips throughout as necessary to meet current structural code.
When working within the confines of an existing structure, costs for these items increase exponentially. Imagine trying to install new mechanical system ductwork (to satisfy the current code's minimum outside air requirements) in an existing small cramped corridor with low ceilings and a plethora of other old systems in your way versus the same task in a new structure which has a clear route and has been designed and framed to accommodate these necessary systems.
Q: What year was MHHS constructed? Why are some much older schools still in service?
A: Buildings constructed in the early 1900s are actually easier to renovate than those from the 1960s as they are typically structural masonry type construction with higher ceilings, wider corridors and larger rooms that lend themselves to more easily accommodate requirements such as sprinkler systems, mechanical ventilation, shear/seismic braces, etc. Design professionals are well aware of the reasons for this and Bristol Warren’s Architect is dedicated in their approach to design a building which is flexible enough to accommodate future needs for decades to come. It is impossible to predict the future, but we can certainly learn from the past.
Q: Does the $200M not-to-exceed budget include what's needed inside the building ex: desks whiteboards? Or will this be a surprise after the fact?
A: The $200M is an all-in not-to-exceed number, it includes contingencies, furnishings, equipment, technology, utility connections, even movers for when the building is complete. Items such as furnishings, fixtures, equipment and technology are reimbursable expenses under the RIDE program.
Q: When is the budget locked in? What assurances do we have that the Building Committee will not seek further increase to budget upon completion of design?
A: The Building Committee intends on going for one and only one referendum. At that point the designer's contract will include a design-to-cost clause based upon the authorized budget to prevent what the industry refers to as “scope creep.”
Q: I don’t have children in the school system and I am concerned about an increase to my taxes. What assurances do I have that costs will be kept down?
A: Keeping costs down is a priority, and it will continue to be right through project closeout. It is understood that many folks affected by this decision do not have children in the school system.
Q: What provisions have been included in the proposed projects to benefit Bristol and Warren’s active older adult population?
A: In our Visioning Sessions where teachers, leaders, architects, committee members, and community members came together to create the design of the new school, overwhelming this group identified goal was to carefully consider the entire community. The stakeholders involved believe that this school will provide the following options for our Active Older Adult Residents:
1. Complete ADA Accessibility (ramps, elevator, parking, larger doors, halls for wheelchairs, etc.)
2. Space to create, research, learn (access to art rooms, computer labs, STEAM labs, and designated areas for research, and reading)
3. Quality gymnasium to hold exercise classes
4. Space to assist in helping our students academically and to build connections
5. A building that will provide the space to establish much needed relationships between our younger and older resident
Q: What happens if the voters do not pass the referendum in November?
A: The RIDE funding process is extremely competitive and a decision not to fund the project could mean that those funds are allocated to another district with a ‘shovel-ready’ project. The repair needs of each building would remain the financial responsibility of the Bristol and Warren communities, likely without the opportunity for State funding at the levels which are currently available.
Q: Many residential homes are as old (or older) than the existing schools and are successfully renovated, why is that any different?
When people update their home they are not required to make it handicap accessible, install sprinkler systems, upgrade the structure's wind/earthquake/snow capacities, install new low-flow plumbing fixtures, or ductwork for code required mechanical ventilation.
New homes are constructed with 2x6 exterior walls to meet energy code, right? Now imagine they had to fur out all of the walls in their home to meet that new code, which then meant they needed to reconfigure interior walls to ensure they had proper wheelchair turning radius, all while still maintaining the minimum room size as determined by a State authority, and needing to keep their doors open to the public. If that were the case then building a new house next to that old house doesn't sound so bad anymore, does it?
Commercial building renovations/projects, and specifically those within an Educational Use Group, are held to a much higher standard. Renovations projects do exist but are generally the result of either a historic designation or lack of space elsewhere to build upon. Regional K-12 project data confirms that renovation is often no less expensive than constructing new.