New Showell School Comes In $609K Under Budget

BERLIN – School system officials highlighted $609,000 in cost savings associated with the construction of the new Showell Elementary School this week.

To celebrate the new school costing less than anticipated, Superintendent Lou Taylor presented the Worcester County Commissioners with a check for the remaining fund balance of $609,580.

“I thank you not only for your funding support of the Showell project but also for the many, many hours you dedicated to conceptual planning meetings, design meetings, budget meetings, and bidding meetings which allowed us to build the incredible new Showell Elementary School,” Taylor said.

From the start of the years-long process of building a new school, Taylor said officials worked hard to cut costs and at the same time ensure students would get a state-of-the-art instructional space. He credited the commissioners for their efforts as well. Commissioners Chip Bertino, Jim Bunting and Ted Elder were members of a conceptual planning committee that reviewed potential school designs and in the end reduced the estimated project cost by $7 million. Officials were then able to reduce the local project cost by 12% and also saw a funding increase from the state. In the end, the new facility — which opened in September — cost slightly more than $48 million, with the state contributing almost $8.7 million and the county providing $39.8 million.

“When all pending payments to Showell contractors and vendors are complete, we will return to you — and  we’re here to do that today — a little over $609,000,” Taylor said.

According to Taylor, the majority of the savings were the result of a very low final change order of $194,431, or .04% of total construction cost. Typically, the school system budgets 2.5% change order costs.

He said the school construction process had evolved significantly since Stephen Decatur Middle School was built in 1997.

“I believe that the Showell Elementary School project has provided a footprint for all future school construction projects,” he said, adding that collaboration and communication between the various parties involved had been critical to the project’s success.

Bertino said that though there were times the community hadn’t believed the school would be built it had been done thanks to the commitment of all involved.

“I think we’re all very pleased with how things turned out,” he said.

Bunting agreed and said he appreciated the work everyone, particularly Taylor, had put in.

“I’ll tell you what — when you put two St. Martin Neckers together and you accomplish something, you’ve done something,” he said. “It’s been a good road for us getting this school built.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.