Trustees OK cap on Rowe costs

The Rancho Santa Fe School District Board of Trustees voted last week to cap the cost of the new R. Roger Rowe School at $39.5 million. The vote was met with a round of applause. By setting the maximum price, the builders C.W. Driver guarantee they can bring them a new school at that fixed price tag.

In coming up with their total, the trustees weighed the costs and benefits of add-ons such as aluminum clad windows, enhanced concrete paving, concrete benches, decorative steel fencing and a door security system. The items are included in what is called a value-engineering list.

In the end, they accepted the entire list at a total of $2.23 million.

That figure allows for flexibility, since a few items still have to go out to bid and the board hopes to find money-saving alternatives to other items, Superintendent Lindy Delaney said.

“To me, my priorities are safety, educational benefits for the kids and then aesthetics,” Carlie Headapohl said.

The most expensive item on their list is a $400,000 access control system, which allows all the school’s doors to be controlled by a central computer.

“It’s a tremendous security enhancement to the facility,” said Ben Holbert, district director of technology, noting it could be helpful in the event of a lockdown.

Instead of the hour it normally takes every day to physically unlock and lock all the school’s doors, the new system would allow a user to unlock and lock all the school’s doors via computer. Keys would no longer be required.

The system comes with a price tag of $400,000, but the district could opt to put in conduits for $50,000 giving them the option to install the system later.

The Rancho Santa Fe Art Jury had expressed concerns about the design of the school, the main issue being the building’s exterior. They suggested a “Santa Barbara” look - the wavy appearance found throughout the village and the golf course.

It had been estimated that the finish would cost the district an additional $369,000, but the contractor agreed to do it at no extra cost.

Association Manager Pete Smith said that the association is comfortable with the fix.

“It’s a great solution,” Smith said.

The Art Jury will continue to work with the school, but Smith said they know they are on a tight deadline.

“We absolutely don’t want to delay you,” he said.