This is what I have found out from McChesney today via phone and email conversations.
You have to go to the DCSS eboard to get the additional information that they have provided.
Click here for the link to the website for the meeting.
When you go to the webpage, scroll down the left hand side to G-17.
William Bradley Bryant Center Renovation. Once there go to the bottom of the page to supporting documents and you will see the excel spreadsheet for "WBBC Budget Reallocation".
This is where McChesney stated that the funds were already allocated for a WBBC renovation. [Editor: Total costs are $4,500,000 -- $1,000,000 was already allocated and the department asked for $3,500,000 more, from "Program Contingency"]. He was adamant about saying that these funds are not new funds be were already allocated to the renovation of WBBC. The board is not using new funds, but old funds.
That's what he said.
He did not understand my concern regarding the following requests for explanations for some of the line item expenditures regarding the proposed costs associated with the project. He just said the costs are normal and "Standard operating costs" with this kind of project.
I could tell that he was not too concerned with the same scrutiny that I seemed to give the project. I looked at the PDFs that are also on the supporting documents section of the renovation.
Here are a few of my concerns:
First of all the total cost of the project on the PDF is $5,090,870.
He said the cost projections that were given to him were not that high.
Well Don, this is what is published on the website for the public to scrutinize! Shouldn't this be the one that we are all using?
The current proposed increase of $3,500,000 plus the already allocated $1,000,000 would only bring the funding to $4,500,000. Still $590,870 short of what is projected. And they approved this?
Here comes the "Fine tooth comb" line item audit from the 2nd PDF of supporting documents, WBBC Presentation to BFFC. Pay attention as I go through the PDF.
Page 1. August 19th BOE Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee.
The move will include 10 staff members. Let me state this again, a TOTAL of 10 staff members. $5,090,870.
#1 Remove, store and return existing furn & furnishings. $40,000.
Refer back to here after reading item #12.
#2 Site Work $550,000 for 220 parking spaces with curbs and proper drainage? For 10 employees?
#3 Bldg and Site Concrete $5,000 for concrete curbs in parking lot. Didn't we just allocate $550,000 for parking spots with curbs?
#6 Rough and finish carpentry $50,000. Wood blocking, temporary doors/frames/hardware, countertops and wood trims.
It sounds reasonable.
#8 Doors/Frames/Hardware $31,192.
Doors, frames and hardware? Didn't we just allocate $50,000 for this? Or is temporary carpentry more expensive than the permanent carpentry? The answer was "SOP", standard operating procedure.
#9 Finishes $503,760. Includes drywall partitions, acoustic ceilings, carpet, VCT and rubber base, painting, cleaning and refinishing of Terrazzo walls.
I thought this was the specialty products for the data storage, climate controlled room where the computer servers are kept. WRONG! This is for the 10 employees! The data storage room is in addition to this $503,760.
Does anyone have acoustic ceilings or carpet in there school except for the library or music room?
Here is the fun part.
#10 Specialties $22,000. Like the $503,760 isn't special enough we include an additional $22,000 on window treatments, fire extinguishers and TOILET ACCESSORIES!!!!! What the hell is going on? These fire extinguishers are not for the data servers, that comes later, nor is it part of the fire safety sprinkler system that's been there since 1960, this is again for the 10 employees!!!!
Window treatments and TOILET ACCESSORIES???????? Wait until you see how much they allocated to upgrade the bathrooms!
#11 Appliances $2,500. Doesn't seem like a big number, but this is where parents and taxpayers feel the pain the most.
$2,500 for 1 refrigerator, 1 microwave oven and 1 water cooler for 10 employees. What are they thinking? If they don't already have one at the N. Decatur MIS department that they can bring with them then buy these for less than $600, not $2,500!!!!
#12 Furnishings $125,940. Where do they come up with this number?
41,980 square feet at $3 per square foot? That's where! Remember #1, $40,000 for remove, store and return existing furnishings? Why are we buying new furnishings is we are paying to remove, store and return existing furnishings? Why are we storing and returning existing furnishings if we are buying new furnishings?
For 10 employees?
#13 and #15 are for the actual data storage room. $62,970 each for a raised floor and a cooling unit for climate controls. Even the dry sprinkler for $41,000 if a fire breaks out in the data storage room. Didn't we allocate $22,000 earlier for fire extinguishers along with toilet accessories?
Speaking of toilet accessories, another item #15 that tried to sneak in.
#15 Plumbing $34,000 for bathroom upgrades. Now there are already 4 bathrooms, 18 toilets, 11 urinals, 14 sinks and 3 wheelchair accessible stalls. My elementary school is 50 years old this year and we are jumping for joy because we are actually getting new bathroom fixtures for the KIDS for the first time in 50 YEARS!!!! And they have budgeted $34,000 for bathroom upgrades for 10 employees?
That is just the "Fine tooth comb" small items. The rest of the budget is for the "Big Ticket" items that really cost some $$$$.
- Just budgeted cost overruns and design and engineering fees are an additional $806,134.
- Isn't this an existing building that we are moving to because it fits our needs? Why are they spending $544,978 on design and engineering fees?
- That doesn't include the $450,000 in new equipment that is budgeted. What happened to the old equipment that we bought and are currently using at N. Decatur?
- One last item that struck me was the $251,880 ($6 x 41,980 sq. ft.) for exterior windows and including demolition of existing.
- What do interior square feet have to do with exterior windows? The only room that needs protection is the data storage room and that has NO windows!
What drives me crazy is this whole line item, cost estimate is total nonsense. I work in the finance industry, specifically financing for construction projects. There is not one single bank in America that would approve this type of projected costs. But our school board just did. This is a small construction project compared in scope to the larger projects. What do you think is happening on those projects? I, for one would like to see some accountability and transparency! If anyone wants me to look at anymore construction estimates, Cere knows where to find me.
Good night and may we find a solution soon. November 2!
We will be following the progress of this expenditure as well as others.
At the ELPC meeting, when questioned about this, Ms. Tyson stated that this was the "cadillac" proposal and the actual expenditures will be less. To that I ask, "Why would the board even vote to approve such over-spending on a "cadillac" plan and not ask if the "move" could be executed for much less?" If it will cost less, then the department should not have to request such an exorbitant amount. I had no idea this was how they did business. I guess that's how they can say that the projects are coming in so far under budget - the budgets are apparently incredibly padded from the get-go! Could this just be a very clever way to move SPLOST funds?
Tyson said there are no extras, that all they are doing in paying for moving the engineering of it all to Mtn. Ind. The plan that was out there and got to the blog was a "cadillac plan" that the board had put together. There will be no data center "wish list" items. The money for it will not come out of the $40 million surplus, but out of 'contingency'
Read the ELPC report here -
I've decided that projects must go for RFPs as "wish lists" and then the RFPs come in and they decide which bid to take and adjust the contract down; then the bid is under and, voila, surplus on the project. It may be that it's been like this for a decade or more. It may be time for Sag 7 and a volunteer committee of experts to start reviewing all bids in this fashion with their backgrounds and posting their findings (and blasting them to the BOE, legal counsel, the AJC and possibly also the US Attorney) just to "get the word out" on a regular basis and start being a "watch dog." Perhaps, ultimately, we can get the check register and pcard statements posted and we'll really be at transparent....
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