What is the current projected cost of the Project?

The current projected project budget is $88,379,987, which exceeds the total project budget previously approved at the May 2022 Town Meeting, which was $82,530,000. However, leading up to Town Meeting, the Building Committee, and Select Board may consider an alternate article to include the campus canopy and softball field, which were both included in the original project scope but subsequently removed as a cost reduction to the Project. Please see the FAQ below titled “Is there any relief coming from the State regarding this Project or any other MSBA project?” For more information related to this FAQ, please click here.

 

When will we know, with more certainty, what the final cost will be?

By mid-September, the remaining major trade and subcontractor costs will be bid. At that time, roughly 95% of the construction costs will be known. For more information related to this FAQ, please click here.

 

Is there any relief coming from the State regarding this Project or any other MSBA project?

The state recently approved FY 2024 budget, which included a $100 million relief bill for 30 Massachusetts School Building Authority [MSBA] Funded projects across the State that experienced unprecedented construction escalation from 2021 through 2023. The exact amount of the relief funding for each school project is unknown. However, the initial anticipated value for Tyngsborough has been reported as $4.1 million in relief. The value is anticipated to be finalized by the MSBA on or before May 31, 2024.

 

Why is there an increase in cost for this Project? What are the drivers?

The project budget was established in December 2021, and since then, the construction market has seen an unprecedented rise in construction costs. While some of these events may seem unrelated, when viewed under the lens of the construction industry, they all have greatly contributed to the historic inflation of construction costs from 2021 through 2023. Events such as COVID, the invasion and continued war in Ukraine, COVID-related restrictions, tariffs & sanctions with foreign countries, and severe weather have all played a major role in the supply chain of materials and products that serve the construction industry. For more information related to this FAQ, please click here.

 

In terms of oversight, has the School Building Committee made any adjustments to the Project to control costs?

Yes, the Building Committee implemented $2.3 million in Value Engineering [VE] cost reductions in August 2022, and an additional $1.8 million in VE was identified and accepted by the Building Committee in November 2022. Additionally, $215,000 was also incorporated in April of 2023. At this time, a total of $4.3 million in VE has been accepted and implemented into the Project without impacting the Educational Program previously approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority [MSBA] and the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education [DESE].  

 

Did we build in contingency funds? Are those funds still available?

Yes, the budget still includes contingency funds such as design & estimating contingency, escalation contingency, GMP contingency, Owner’s construction contingency, and Owner’s soft cost contingency. The first two contingencies, design & estimating, and escalation contingency will be absorbed in the budget between now and the establishment of the final construction cost. The other remaining contingencies, such as GMP construction, Owner’s construction contingency, and Owner’s soft cost contingency, will be utilized, as required, during the construction period. All unused contingencies will be returned to the Town. For more information related to this FAQ, please click here.  

 

Have other schools in the Commonwealth been affected as well?

Yes. In fact, as part of the recently approved FY 2024 State budget, which included a $100 million relief bill, thirty [30] public school projects across the Commonwealth will receive additional funding relief due to the unprecedented construction escalation experienced from 2021 through 2023.

 

Why was the Project not reduced in square footage to offset the anticipated increase in construction costs?

A school project funded in collaboration with the Massachusetts School Building Authority [MSBA] requires a robust educational program to be developed by the District in partnership and ultimately approved by the MSBA and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education [DESE]. When the schematic design was submitted to the MSBA in March 2022, the educational program and square footage of the design were established through an in-depth educational visioning and planning process. From when the designer was engaged in December of 2021 to when the Project was submitted to the MSBA for approval, thirty-four [34] public meetings were held on the Project.

 

While there is technically a vehicle to reduce square footage with the MSBA, it is a lengthy process once the Project Funding Agreement [PFA] is executed, as the PFA specifically states approximately 112,784 square feet in the contract between the Town and the MSBA. Any reduction in the educational program, no matter how small, would require a new educational program to be submitted to the MSBA, inclusive of documented public support of the reduction, a review from the MSBA staff, approval from the MSBA board of directors, and approval from the DESE.

 

To substantially reduce construction costs, upwards of 10,000 square feet would have to be removed from the Project. However, the May 2022 warrant, article, and motion associated with the Project specifically stated approximately 112,784 square feet. The Project received a legal opinion from Town Counsel that a reduction of 10,000 square feet would be a deviation and inconsistent with the article and motion voted on at Town Meeting in May 2022.

 

What are the next steps to keep the Project moving forward?

The additional borrowing authorization will be identified in late September, and possibly two borrowing articles will be presented at the Fall 2023 Town Meeting.

 

Why does the Tyngsborough Middle School Project have a campus canopy as part of the design?

In addition to the physical proximity of Tyngsborough Middle School and High School on the same campus, these two school facilities have functioned as an educational campus for over fifteen years with shared staff, programs, schedules, and resources. The Norris Road Campus maximizes educational funding to best meet the needs of the students. The concept of a campus canopy was integral to the Project's vision from its inception. Unforeseen escalation prompted a comprehensive review of cost-saving opportunities. During this evaluation, the feasibility of the campus canopy was assessed. However, the Building Committee overseeing the Project had the foresight to proceed with the installation of the foundation system for the campus canopy, anticipating that the entire structure would ultimately be included in the Project. Recent relief funding secured through the State budget and other funding sources has eliminated the need for any additional tax impact associated with Article 10. Given this positive financial development, the School Building Committee has decided to maintain the inclusion of the campus canopy in the Project, consistent with the original design presented and approved during the May 2022 Town Meeting.

 

What happens if the increased borrowing authorization is not approved at Town Meeting?

From an overall contract award standpoint, at the time of Fall Town Meeting, roughly 96% of the Project scope has been bid and awaiting formal award. If the Project were put on hold, the Town would be subject to substantial delay claims from various subcontractors. When the Project is re-engaged, the Project cost would be more due to said delay claims and bid values that could not be held due to the delay of formalizing bid awards; 50% of the Project would be subject to re-bid. Additionally, the Town has a contract with the Massachusetts School Building Authority [MSBA] to complete the Project in compliance with the Educational Program. In the event that the Town fails in its commitments, the Town may be subject to reimburse the MSBA the full amount of all reimbursement funds received from the MSBA in connection with the Project.

 

Why is the gymnasium larger than what the Massachusetts School Building Authority will participate in for State reimbursement?

The existing middle school gymnasium was approximately 6,700 square feet with limited run-off area and could accommodate approximately 300 seats, none being ADA accessible. The MSBA template size gymnasium is 6,000 square feet. The new gymnasium will be approximately 7,440 square feet and accommodate seating for 266 spectators; 4 seats will be ADA accessible. For student/ player run-off safety and the ability to accommodate spectators for school and community use, the decision was made to enlarge the gymnasium slightly. To see a plan of the gym with safety run-off dimensions, please click here.