Construction Costs

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The question we are posing here is why government building construction costs, at the town and state level (for schools, police and fire stations, community centers, city halls, state college buildings etc), are much higher than those incurred by private real estate developers (for office buildings, manufacturing facilities, shopping malls, private schools, private college buildings etc).

Government Building Construction

Vynebrooke Village Renovations

In 2014, Annual Town Meeting approved in its Article 8 (g) renovations at Vynebrooke Village, at the cost of $300k to Lexington and $600k to the Dept of Housing and Community Development. Work scope: replacing 27,000 sq ft of siding, 17,000 sq ft shingle roof, and 24 doors[1][2].

Estabrook Construction

The Estabrook school construction has a 82,080 sq ft gross floor area[3], and the construction cost was $43.35M[4]. This comes comes to $528 per sq ft. The construction was completed in 2013.

Lexington High School Modulars

The High School Modulars are 24,525 sq ft gross floor area[5] at an estimated construction cost of $6.7M-$7.7M[5], including an unspecified amount of technology equipment. This comes to $273-$313 per sq ft.

Summary of School Construction in Lexington

School Name Completion Year Sections (General Ed. Classrooms) Cost Sq Ft (Gross) Budget Cost per Sq Ft Construction Cost per Sq Ft (incl. site work) Addition/Renovation
Hastings Elementary School 30 [6] $65.27M [7] 110,000 [6] $593 (2018 dollars) [7] $482 (2018 dollars) [6]
Estabrook Elementary School 2013 [8] 27 $43.35M [4] 91,840 [8] $472 (2014 dollars)
Fiske Elementary School 2007 [8] $18M 75,840 [8] $237 (2007 dollars)
Harrington Elementary School 2005 [8] $13M 79,470 [8] $171 (2005 dollars)
Clarke Middle School 1972 [8] 133,200 [8] Reno 2000
Bowman Elementary School 1967 [8] 66,800 incl. modular CR's [8] Reno 2014
Bridge Elementary School 1966 [8] 64,450 [8] Reno 2014
Old Hastings Elementary School 1955 [8] 64,980 incl. modular CR's [8] 1959, 1995, 2003
High School 1953 [8] 361,200 incl. modular CR's [8] 1955, 1962, 2000, 2014

This table was last updated in Sept 2017.

Reports:

Private Real Estate Developers Construction

Hobbs Brook Construction in Waltham

Hobbs Brook announced in the fall of 2013 that it is planning to construct an office space building in Waltham, at 275 Wyman St, for 315,000 sq ft at $100M construction costs[9]. This comes to $317 per sq ft. Vistaprint will move its headquarters from Lexington into the new building once it is completed.

Lexington Documents and Data

Hastings

Estabrook

LHS Modulars

Massachusetts Documents and Data

Legislation

Public Works in Massachusetts function under M.G.L. c. 149 and 149A.

Studies and Documents

Massachusetts Construction Costs

News & OpEds


Notes

  1. Apr 7, 2014 Town Meeting session, min. 70.
  2. lex-tmma thread: Financial impact of reconsideration of article 10L (Apr 2014)
  3. See Estabrook Space Summary 11-10-19 for Estabrook floor area data
  4. 4.0 4.1 $1,05M for FY12 feasibility, $39.7M for FY13 design and construction, $2.6M for FY12 to accommodate increase in estimated construction costs. Also see Lexington Minuteman: Costs rise for Estabrook School building project, by Ben Aaronson (Oct 16, 2012) The MSBA refunded $12.25M of the construction costs.
  5. 5.0 5.1 LHS Overcrowding, School Committee update, (Sept 10, 2013)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Hastings Project Scope and Budget
  7. 7.0 7.1 Hastings Project Budget
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 Final Phase 1 Capacity Report (Nov 19, 2014), p. 18
  9. Boston.com: Developers propose $100m, 315,000 square foot Vistaprint building in Waltham, by Jaclyn Reiss (Nov 5, 2013)