School construction delayed and over budget | SierraSun.com

School construction delayed and over budget

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

Major construction projects within the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District are still underway, but taking longer than expected.

The new West Wing at Truckee High School, which houses a science, engineering, media, art and fabrication lab, was completed last fall. However, the next phase of construction — ­­which includes the renovation of the existing building with the addition of a new library and media center — was set back another year.

“We wanted to finalize the architecture drawings and go through the review process with the state. By the time that was completed it put us a year behind,” said Dr. Rob Leri, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District superintendent. He said the major portions of the project will be completed by the start of next school year but there will be remaining projects to be completed.

Construction at Tahoe Lake Elementary has been set back two years from its original completion date, and is now expected to be finished in August 2020. Due to the building’s age, Leri said there were unforeseen conditions that required additional work and redesigning. The school was built in 1934 with additions added in the 1950s and early 1960s.

“There were upgrades done in the early 2000s, in terms of energy efficiency and carpeting, but no major structural rebuild like we’re doing now,” said Leri.

The entire project involves modernizing the buildings and constructing new classrooms to replace modular classrooms. Leri said they are looking to complete the project by August 2020.

‘$40 million over budget’

Community members voted yes on Measure U in November of 2014, a general obligation bond measure that provided $114 million to fund projects at Truckee High School, Truckee Elementary School, Alder Creek Middle School, Glenshire Elementary Donner Trail Elementary and Sierra Expeditionary Learning School.

Measure E was passed at the same time, which provided $62 million to fund projects at Tahoe Lake Elementary, Kings Beach Elementary, North Tahoe School, and North Tahoe High School.

Due to the delays and a competitive construction market Leri said the school district is $40 million over their budget.

“A big part of it has just been the incredible construction climate that we’re in currently which many public agencies and private developers are facing as well,” said Leri.

Of the funds needed, $10 million will be reimbursed by the state while the district will finance the other $30 million. Leri said a stream of existing funding designated toward facilities will go towards paying off the $30 million.

“We’ll be doing additional financing as a district, but not asking for direct taxpayer contributions,” said Leri.

The district is aiming to complete the construction on all the schools by the fall of 2022.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at hjones@sierrasun.com or 503-550-2652.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to clarify the expected completion date for Tahoe Lake Elementary School is August 2020.