Most parents are willing to pay the bills for new public school buildings if they’re getting their money’s worth. But few Charlotte-Mecklenburg parents have any idea if the school system is building schools as efficiently as possible. Thanks to Wake County taxpayers, parents here now have a new tool to help them get the biggest bang for their bucks.
Last year, CMS officials participated in a comprehensive study of new school construction costs commissioned by a Wake study group. The 324-page report unveiled in January offered a comprehensive and careful analysis of site development, building materials and building systems costs of new school construction in North Carolina, Nevada, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida school districts. Two independent consulting firms gathered data on 156 school construction projects bid since 2000. The consultants normalized the construction costs to account for variations in bid date and local construction conditions, ensuring apples-to-apples comparisons. They also broke down the construction costs into 16 standard construction trade categories or CSI divisions. The breakdown of costs according to CSI divisions allows district-to-district comparisons of the cost of mechanical and electrical systems, site development, materials, finishes, equipment, and the like.