Final change order approved for Blakely Elementary replacement project

Project budget total slated for nearly $45 million

The Bainbridge Island School District Board of Directors recently approved a nearly $550,000 final change order for the ongoing replacement of Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary School.

According to the school board documents, the guaranteed maximum price was slated at $33,513,695.34 before the additional change order of $549,961.41 increased that amount to $34,063,656.75. The scope of the additional change order includes mechanical shaft issues, playground changes, revisions to the bus loop entry, among numerous others. Additionally, contingencies and soft costs will bring the total project to nearly $45 million. The project estimate from 2018 came in at $45,531,251.

In 2016, voters approved an $81.2 million bond measure, $39 million of which was devoted to replacing Blakely Elementary. District officials state that the project is not significantly over the master plan cost estimate.

“When voters were asked to approve the 2016 bond, we knew it would cost more than $39 million to rebuild Blakely,” the district website states. “At the time, it was projected Blakely would cost approximately $45 million. We chose to ask for only $39 million because other resources were identified that could contribute to the project.”

According to BISD Capital Projects Director Tamela Van Winkle, the number of change orders to this project was appropriate for the hefty budget in place.

“There are a number of reasons change orders arise during construction,” she said. “Questions arise from the documents that are created by the architect to build the project, [COBI] can require site revisions, site conditions can change, project timeline increases, overtime can be required, just to name a few. Answers to these questions often translate to additional costs for the contractor. We had under 2.5 percent change orders for the project scope which is quite good.”

With Kitsap County now in Phase 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery, the district states that closeout activities are now being scheduled, as well as maintenance staff systems training, according to BISD’s Capital Projects monthly report. Closeout documents are also being assembled and reviewed, and the City of Bainbridge Island has completed its site review and inspection for phase two while final completion documents are in progress.

An initial escalation of costs were largely attributed to the high volume of construction in Seattle and the loss of grant funds, Van Winkle said back in March of 2017. Construction for the new building began in March of 2018.

Most of the school features have already been completed as students attended the school last year before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the district to conduct remote learning. The revitalized school features classroom and shared-learning spaces to accommodate some 450 students and staff members, according to BISD officials. Other spaces include an elementary-sized gymnasium, cafeteria and commons, along with administrative offices.