Saturday, November 4, 2006
If Mayor David B. Cohen has his way, the planned new Newton North High School will no longer be known as the "as-much-as-$165-million" project."
Releasing new cost estimates yesterday, Cohen capped the price tag for a new Newton North High School at $141 million, a move that encouraged some project supporters as the preliminary plans for the project move toward a citywide referendum in January.
The price tag, down from a previous estimate of from $140 million to $165 million, could go even lower, Cohen and other project backers said.
“Will that be enough to convince some of the people who have expressed opposition to the building? I don’t know,” Ward 4 Alderman Leonard Gentile said. “I hope so.”
To achieve the reduced cost, the architects for the project, Gund Partnership, have recommended numerous changes to the infrastructure, said Cohen's spokesman, Jeremy Solomon.
Solomon said the reductions would not affect the educational plan devised earlier by the School Department and ratified by the School Committee.
Among Gund’s suggestions are to put individual heating and cooling vents in each room instead of using a centralized system, for a savings of more than $1.5 million, and to change the material used on the facade of the building, for a savings of more than $1.4 million, according to a memo from Gund dated Nov. 1.
Other reductions come from reshaping roofs from sloping to flat, for about $1 million, and reducing the size of the entranceway lobby, for $500,000.
Kenneth Parker said the new building should not cost more than $120 million. The alderman at large from Ward 6 also said he still has questions about the design for the school.
“The veil of secrecy over this project makes it very difficult to render informed judgments about the progress on this project,” Parker said.
-- Connie Paige