Climate change affects the school district, too

There's the earth's climate, and then there’s the “bid climate.”

It’s not exactly a weather phenomenon, but it is, in fact, a trend that’s as important to note as the latest forecast. A recession that meant Vashon Island School District might be able to build its new high school under budget is apparently playing out differently.

Some contractors in the Puget Sound region have gone out of business over the last few years, reducing the pool of potential bidders. Others have found work in recent months, as the freeze in projects began to thaw. And on Vashon, it’s led to a bit of a disappointment.

Due to a change in the “bid climate,” as those involved in the project call it, bids for various jobs at the new high school are coming in much higher than expected, and some of the project’s key managers are concerned.

A few months ago, The Beachcomber said it hoped the school district might be able to find enough savings to set some funds aside for the second phase of this far-reaching project. Now, it seems, merely keeping the project on track and on budget is the best we can hope for.

But the board, it appears, is asking hard questions and tracking the situation carefully. So, too, is the superintendent; Michael Soltman is a hands-on administrator when it comes to the high school project. He’s paying close attention.

We don’t think there’s reason to grow alarmed. But we are sorry for the shift in the bid climate and urge project managers to continue to do what they must to ensure the high school comes in on budget.


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