Lone Pine cost below estimate

Slumping economy has created a competitive market for bids

The construction price for overhauling Medford's Lone Pine Elementary campus is about $700,000 less than anticipated because of the scarcity of building projects in the slumping economy, school district officials announced Tuesday.

"A lot of it is the economy," said Mark Button, Medford schools facilities director. "It's a very competitive bidding market. It's definitely worked to the district's advantage."

Mahlum Architects, which designed Lone Pine's new look, earlier this year estimated that construction would cost about $12 million. The guaranteed maximum price by Ashland-based Adroit Construction to construct Lone Pine came out about $11.2 million.

"It's excellent news," said Eric Dziura, Medford School Board chair. "The guaranteed maximum price increases the chance that we come in under budget."

The entire budget for Lone Pine, including construction, design and soft costs, is set at $15.7 million.

The project includes renovations to the library and two classroom wings; demolishing a combined gymnasium and cafeteria, the administration building, the original 1926 structure and a classroom wing; and replacing them with more than 34,000 square feet of new construction.

All of the old structures were demolished this summer except for a classroom wing, which will be used temporarily while construction is under way of a new gymnasium-cafeteria and administration-classroom building.

How much of the $700,000 in savings will be earmarked for other projects in the district's $189 million bond package won't be clear until the costs come in for Lone Pine's permitting and system development charges from the city, said Kent Stephens, Medford schools finance director.

Whatever the amount is, it likely will be used on projects that have exceeded budget, such as Jackson and Roosevelt elementary schools.

"We are hoping this (competitive bidding) trend continues because on Sept. 17 we'll be opening hard bids to construct Jackson and Roosevelt," Stephens said.

Several contractors have expressed interest in the Jackson and Roosevelt projects, Stephens said.

The Lone Pine construction and renovations will conclude in fall 2009.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.

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