Longview school officials are predicting a $4 million increase in the cost to build two new elementary schools in the district due to poor soil conditions and higher-than-expected construction costs.
But there is still time for the school board to revise its bond proposal to account for the difference before voters cast ballots on it in November.
A soil study, conducted at the Mint Valley Elementary School construction site, suggests that almost $2.4 million more will be needed for building foundations due to poor soil conditions.
The district’s construction consultants anticipate that another $1.6 million will be needed to cover a rise in the cost for construction materials and labor.
The Longview School District is not alone in the price spikes, as several other Cowlitz County construction projects rose in cost over the last year due to unstable soil conditions and quickly increasing construction costs.
Longview School Board members requested a soil study be completed before the bond appeared before voters to reduce the risk of having to adjust the project after voters approved it. (Poor soil conditions increased the price tag to build three elementary school projects in the Kelso School District by $5 million, prompting school officials to revise the bond plan to build just two new schools.)
The school board Monday will discuss how it plans to respond to the new cost estimates, but it is not slated to vote on the matter until June 24.
Potential options to make up for the cost difference include adding money to the November bond request, reducing the price of other projects already included within the bond plan or using state match money to finance the new schools (in place of other projects). Board members could also chose to do a combination of those options.
The $115 million bond measure would raise money to replace Mint Valley and Northlake elementary schools and renovate Memorial Stadium and field, among other projects. It is scheduled to be on the November general election ballot and requires a 60 percent approval to pass.