Why California schools cost so much

October 01, 2007 |

A group of more than 20 representatives from California's government, education, legal, design, and construction communities recently co-authored a 27-page report detailing why construction costs are so high for K-12 facilities and community colleges in California.

“A Report on the High Cost of Construction for K-12 Schools and Community Colleges in California,” created by Parsons Corportation of Pasadena, Calif., and its 20-representative group examines possible reasons for these high costs, including economic and construction market conditions, increases in the number and complexity of designs, and legal restrictions for project delivery and contracting processes. The report also identifies initiatives to lower costs without sacrificing public and educational objectives.

Chief among its recommendations is that legislators must enact regulations to broaden choices for project delivery and contracting. Legislation just signed into law this month by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will broaden project delivery choices, according to its sponsor. State Senate Bill 614 will take effect January 1 and will make the design-build method of construction more available to districts and community colleges.

The report also recommended that facility owners develop clear mission statements when designing and building educational facilities, and that industry leaders and facility owners work in a collaborative manner to standardize and deliver design and construction.

“While this (design-build) legislation is not the answer to all the cost challenges the community faces, it will undoubtedly be welcomed by school and college boards, facility executives, procurement departments, and program/construction management firms working to find the best and most cost-effective approach,” said Lloyd Silberstein, Parsons VP.

To read the full report, go to: www.parsons.com/k-12-cc_construction_cost_report.pdf.

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