New price tag for old high school


 South Dundas council met with the project managers and the contractor who will be renovating the former Morrisburg Collegiate Institute November 27, at a special council meeting to better pin down the cost of the renovation of the old high school.

From the new information and small project changes outlined in a post-tender addendum document that the project team has been preparing over the last couple of months, council now knows that the cost of the renovation project will be $4,093,882.

The team has been working to find savings within the project originally tendered at $3.8 million.

They identified areas of savings through small structural changes, such as keeping an existing stairwell, the use of metal siding on a small portion of the building and changing the elevator specifications.

The document also reflected changes to the project made by council that will add costs.

Council decided that they want the brick on the entire building re-pointed for the sake of both longevity and appearance, which is an added expense.

The project managers and contractor were asked to provide council with a more accurate cost estimate for abatement costs, and within the context of that work they found some added project expenses.

“We didn’t expect the abatement costs to be that high,” said Ron Rivet of True North Group, the project managers. 

“Asbestos was the least of our worries,” he said, explaining that almost $150,000 of abatement costs will have to be spent on mitigation measures for the lead paint, which is throughout the building.

The abatement costs for the asbestos in the building will be about $34,000.

Whether the building is renovated or demolished, the municipality is on the hook for the abatement costs.

“Actually, if you demolished the building it would be a much higher cost,” said Dick Markell, president of Bourgon Construction, the contractor hired to renovate the building. He estimated that in the case of demolition, the abatement costs would likely triple.

“What you will have when we are done is a building that is pretty close to new, and in some ways better than new,” said Markell explaining, “New buildings are not designed and built like this building was built.” According to Markell, the structure of this building is much like that of a hospital.

Once Bourgon Construction gets the official go ahead from council, likely in the form of a resolution at the December 3 council meeting, they expect the project to be complete in nine to 10 months.

“The structure’s up, so the hard part is done,” said Markell. “I’m hoping to get in the ground before Christmas. Getting the services in before the frost gives us a huge jump on the project.”

The contractor was asked about the handling of hazardous material, in close proximity to a public school.

“Anything that is air borne is tarped. We have industry standards that we have to follow,” said Markell. 

“Bourgon has an excellent safety record. That’s one of the reasons we chose them for this project,” said Rivet.

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