Soaring material prices raise cost of GISD Transportation Center upgrades | Local News

Employees in Greenville ISD’s transportation department received welcome news this week in the form of a video highlighting long overdue upgrades to their existing facility at the district’s old football stadium, Phillips Field.

Phase 1 of these planned improvements include the construction of an enclosed maintenance shop for buses, a bus washing station, new perimeter fencing and gates, a new driver parking lot, and a repaving of the entry driveway.

To pay for the first phase of the project, the Greenville ISD Board of Trustees approved a guaranteed maximum price of $1.85 million with ICI Construction Tuesday.

Back when the board began planning for the improvements in late 2018 and in 2019, the maximum price estimated for the project was about $522,000. Since then, with drastic increases in material costs due to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions, the project ended up with a price tag more than three times as much as initially expected.

Because of the price increase and the dire need for more renovation at the transportation center, the board on Dec. 7 approved transferring $3 million from the district’s fund balance to its construction account because the $1.85 million “guaranteed maximum price” does not include architectural and engineering fees. At Tuesday’s meeting, ICI Construction Senior Project Manager Brady Ream estimated that, with architectural and engineering costs included, the overall total for the improvements could come out to be about  $2.2 million.

During the meeting, some of the school board members expressed sticker shock and asked if it might be better to “wait until material costs go down” to do the project, but Ream advised against it.

“Steel is definitely our biggest cost in this project, and everyone is saying that steel won’t go down any time soon,” he said.

At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, the board unanimously approved the guaranteed maximum price of $1.85 million. The estimated completion date for Phase 1 of the upgrades is August 2022.

Although the board only discussed costs for Phase 1 of the renovations Tuesday, proposed future upgrades include:

• Phase 2 – New main facility building, along with additional parking.

• Phase 3 – Demolition of existing bleachers and expansion of the bus parking area.

Though not directly related to the upgrades to the transportation center, the school board also approved the purchase of a new bus Tuesday, which will serve pre-K students at L.P. Waters Early Childhood Center. The bus will be  equipped with appropriately sized seating for the 3-to 5-year-old students.

The new bus is priced at $113,760, and will be purchased with American Rescue Plan funds awarded to the district.

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