Construction began this month at five Rutherford school buildings, and so far, the total costs are lower than first projected when voters approved bond funding to improve and expand the borough’s schools. A better-than-expected interest rate saved about $2.2 million, and bids for the first four construction packages totaled about $1 million less than expected.
Work has already started at the Kindergarten Center, Lincoln, Union and the High School. The original plan called for construction to start at the end of June, after classes ended. Once the state announced schools could not re-open in the 2019-20 year, the district coordinated with contractors to start work as soon as possible.
From now until the end of the calendar year, the district will advertise and accept bids for the largest projects at Pierrepont, Union, and the High School. The last one of the packages will be advertised and awarded in December, and all of them face the state-mandated process of competitive bidding. Details about the projects and the construction timeline are posted at www.OneRutherford.com, the same site used to inform the community before the September 2019 vote that authorized it.
Initial projections totaled $45.3 million, with about $9 million of that coming from state aid. No matter how the final projection-versus-reality costs play out, the district cannot use bond funding to pay for any projects other than the ones approved by voters. The district’s construction and renovation expenditures cannot exceed the approved $45.3 million.
Making all of the improvements is expected to take more than two years, and the Board of Education is committed to minimizing disruption.