APS – AJC Follows Up on North Atlanta High School Project – BOE Chairman McDaniel Adds Context to Decision Process

Mark Niesse reports in todays AJC (link to article behind a pay-wall) on the North Atlanta High School project and the cost overruns. The article reviews the costs and provides some quotes from parents in the community. In addition, the article refers to Nancy Meister’s letter on the project (see link) and provides additional insight into the history of how the costs for the project increased so significantly. BOE Chairman McDaniel noted that.

The costs jumped from $42 million to $71 million because early plans called for a smaller school, with a 1,600-student enrollment, according to the school district. In addition, the initial estimate was based on typical renovation expenses, without considering the new building’s topography and design, McDaniel said.

“It’s a high-rise high school. … As we build new facilities, we want them all to be environmentally and technologically state of the art,” said Atlanta Board of Education Chairman Reuben McDaniel, whose daughter will be a freshman at the school.

McDaniel was also asked about the BOE’s oversight on the project,

McDaniel said that even if the school board didn’t discuss the project much at public meetings, board members were updated “every step of the way, so there was no problem with oversight.”

As I have documented (see link), there was no discussion at any BOE meeting leading up to the decision.

In addition, the documents provided to the BOE in January through March 2012 did not disclose any price changes and consistently presented a $42 million cost. Even as late as March 2012 the Construction Manager had not established a Guaranteed Maximum Price for the changes to the design.

It was not until April 12, 2012 when the BOE approved the project for $71 million that the project cost was brought to the publics attention.

Did the BOE provide extensive oversight behind the scenes on a project that increased in cost by nearly 70%?

I sure hope so – but the public record is sorely deficient on the subject.

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