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Cost of joint-use school now at ‘high risk’ due to inflation, construction delays

The budget for the joint-use school on South Hill has increase by $6.6 million due to inflation, material costs, and land development issues.

Every month that passes where shovels are not in the ground building the new joint-use school on South Hill only adds to the project’s overall cost, a status report suggests.

The most recent report shows that the overall project status, scope, and schedule remain at moderate risk, which is similar to last month. However, the budget status has risen to “high risk” from moderate risk because of inflation and other factors.

“The project budget has been revised as a ‘High Risk’ as the current school estimate and land development estimates have both exceeded current budgets by a cumulative total of $6.6 million,” said the report, which was presented during the recent Holy Trinity and Prairie South board meetings.

The latest opinion of probable costs for site services construction shows a budget shortfall of $664,009 or 20 per cent, the report continued. Furthermore, the class B estimate for the school construction indicates that, as currently designed, the project cost estimate is now $6 million — 17 per cent — above the approved budget.

“Discussions are ongoing on how the budget will be brought back on track,” added the report.

Ward Strueby, director of education for Holy Trinity Catholic School Division, acknowledged that the project faces “cost pressures” that should be obvious, especially in acquiring resources to construct the building and hauling them to the site.

The division is working with Prairie South School Division and the Ministry of Education to address this issue, while they hope that the project tender can be issued soon so a contractor can start construction, he continued. That would be great news for both school divisions and the City of Moose Jaw.

“It’s always a concern (to see costs increase), a concern of us and a concern for government. But as it sits right now, we’re working through that process … ,” Strueby said. “Definitely, we can’t build a school for the cost that it would have been quoted for three or four years ago, so there will be some increases there.” 

While the working group overseeing the project has been discussing this situation for some time, Strueby added that he was optimistic a new school could be built in the next two years.

The project status report indicated that the project’s schedule remains at moderate risk in recognition of the time required for design modifications and reviews. While the completion date of September 2024 remains achievable, it will be based on the team’s ability to “value engineer” the design.

“As previously reported, the site services portion of the work (under MOU (memorandum of understanding with the city)) is scheduled to commence in summer/fall 2022 prior to the school construction,” the report added.

The next Holy Trinity board meeting is Tuesday, May 24. 

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