District eyes narrower scope, budget for Paly science addition

School board to discuss project on Tuesday

UPDATE: The school board voted unanimously on Tuesday, Feb. 12, to reject all bids and rebid this project.

Facing construction bids that are nearly three times the allocated budget for a Palo Alto High School science classroom addition, district staff are asking the school board to modify the scope of the project and go out for bids a second time.

The science addition was approved six years ago but was put on hold until Paly's new athletic center and library were completed. The district plans to add to the current science building four new science classrooms, a new projects room and to renovate the existing projects room to expand the science resource center.

The district solicited bids for the project in December, according to a staff report. The lowest bid of five was $10.9 million, which results in an overall project bid of $14.4 million — far above the $5.5 million in bond funds allocated for the renovation.

While there are some potential sources of additional money — $2 million in impact fees, $2.6 million from completed and almost-completed Paly projects and the school's bond reserve — if approved, they would still leave a budget gap of about $4.3 million, according to the district.

District staff are recommending that the board reject at its Tuesday meeting all five bids. Staff would then work with Paly to cut down on the scope of the construction "to help bring the project closer to the funds originally available," the staff report states.

In other business Tuesday evening, the board will hear an update on the development of the Cubberley Community Center master plan and discuss a proposed modernization of Hoover Elementary School, among other items. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the district office, 25 Churchill Ave. Read the agenda here.


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