Savings from bridge project could solve unexpected cost increase of school roof

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In 2019 Granby residents authorized two capital projects for bonding authority. The June 4, 2019, referendum supported both a Bridges Project and a School Project.

The Bridges Project authorized $13,716,000 for five bridges and the School Project authorized $7,100,000 for improvements within the school district.

Both authorizations are reduced by grants or other sources of funding. The Office of School Construction estimates a 37.86 percent reimbursement for all qualifying projects. In 2019 the Bridges Project was estimated to be reimbursable at either 50 percent or 80 percent.

Since 2019 both projects have moved forward. The Griffin Road and Hungary Road bridges are complete and the third, Moosehorn Road, is in progress. The actual contract costs for these projects were lower than estimated at the time of the 2019 referendum. Additionally, Simsbury Road and Donahue Road are now 100 percent reimbursable. Originally, the Town expected to pay 20 percent of these two projects.

The School Building Committee is charged with managing the School Projects. At Granby Memorial High School a staircase and a science classroom have been renovated to meet safety standards. The roof and gutters have been replaced at the Granby Memorial Middle School. Other interior work at the middle school has been ongoing since late spring 2022. Work to construct a new cafeteria, kitchen facility, and renovations to the music and vocational education spaces (Phase I) is nearing completion.

The Bridges and School projects are bonded, which means that the Town goes to the financial marketplace and secures funding to be paid back with interest over a certain period, generally 20 years. In 2021 two bond issuances took place. These bonds were issued at true interest cost of 1.73 percent and 1.54 percent. The Town received cash, or bond proceeds, to pay for the anticipated net cost for all the projects.

In late summer 2022, a series of change orders in the Phase I School Project occurred due to unforeseen conditions and unexpected project modifications. The change orders, as of Nov. 11, total $503,337.74. Another large piece of the project is the high school roof replacement, which was part of the original project scope. However, due to grant reimbursement requirements, the State of Connecticut Office of School Construction did not allow Granby to begin the application process for reimbursement until November 2022. Since 2019, the estimated cost of the roof project has grown by 49 percent. The estimates received at the end of 2021 and again in fall 2022, have increased by approximately $816,000. The change orders and the increase in the roof estimate has resulted in a shortfall of $1,253,169. This is the estimated amount needed to complete Phase I interior work as well as to install a new roof at Granby Memorial High School.

Currently the Town has two problems it must solve. The first is the School Project overage. The second is that the Town has more bond proceeds on hand than necessary to complete the five bridge projects.

It is estimated excess bond proceeds for the Bridges Project will be $2,585,151. Excess bond proceeds must be allocated to a duly authorized capital project. The Town executed Tax Regulatory and Compliance Agreements regarding the bond issues. The Town represented that it reasonably expected at least 85 percent of the bond proceeds would be allocated to project expenditures on or before three years from issue dates, and that completion of the projects and allocation of the bond proceeds to expenditures will proceed with due diligence.

Given that the school project allocated funds are insufficient to pay the total project cost and the bridges project allocated funds exceed the bridges project cost by $2,585,151, the Town desires to reallocate a portion of the excess bridge proceeds—$1,460,000—to the School Project to address its shortfall of funds.

Not all excess proceeds are being reallocated to allow for non-reimbursable or other unanticipated costs in the Bridges Project. The Town would have to determine how to use any remaining excess Bridges Project proceeds in the future. The process to do that would be the same as that currently being put to a referendum vote. The charts on p. 3 illustrate the financials associated with both projects.The Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance have approved resolutions to advance this to a Special Town meeting and Referendum. The Special Town meeting will consider and discuss a resolution to increase the School Project appropriation from $7,100,000 to $8,560,000. The source of funding for this increase would come from the Bridges Project. Therefore, there will be no change in the total amount of authorized funding from the 2019 referendum. If passed by the voters, the dollars will be moved from one project to the other.

Bridges Project GrantAuthorized
Amt to Bond
Total Bond IssuanceBond Proceeds not
expected to be spent
Authorized Referendum$13,716,000    
2021 Estimate$13,052,500$8,987,750$4,064,750$4,050,000 
Oct. 2022 Current Estimate$9,868,882$8,404,033$1,464,849$4,050,000$2,585,151
School Project Grant 37.86%Authorized
Amt to Bond
Total Bond IssuanceShortfallContingencyIncrease to Authorization
Authorized Referendum$7,100,000      
Oct. 2022 Current Estimate$8,308,238$2,705,069$5,603,169$4,350,000$1,253,169  $206,831  $1,460,000

Special Town Meeting
Tuesday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.

Senior Center Community Room

Referendum Vote
Tuesday, Dec. 20, 12-8 p.m.
Town Hall Meeting Room

The question before the voters on Tuesday, Dec. 20 is as follows:

Shall the Town of Granby increase the appropriation from $7,100,000 to $8,560,000 for the costs of various school capital improvement projects including the planning, design, construction, reconstruction and repair of: (a) science, career and technology education spaces, (b) performing arts facilities; (c) library-media center; (d) kitchen facilities; (e) athletic fields; and (f) infrastructure and systems located in various schools all in the Town of Granby including all architectural, engineering, testing, inspection, and temporary and permanent financing costs related thereto, including capitalized interest costs, and authorize the issuance of bonds and notes in the amount of an additional $1,460,000 for a total of $8,560,000 to finance such appropriation or so much as may be necessary after deducting grants or other sources of funding, including funds authorized but not needed to complete the Bridges Project?