With the new Avery Elementary School a month away from opening, the School Building Rehabilitation Committee is eyeing its contingency fund as the project nears a close.
Rough estimates pin left over monies at $168,000, but that number could increase depending on how the state rules on reimbursements.
"Given that we haven't gotten a response from them to date, it is hard to make a decision based on that unknown," committee member Andrew Lawlor said at a SBRC meeting Monday evening.
The committee has several decisions left including additional change order requests and additional costs associated with extra soil on the site.
The school's budget took major hits from under-estimated utility and heating costs associated with last winter, according to project officials.
"We took a pretty good hit on our contingency over the last month," project manager Jim Byrne said. "Our contingency is dwindling."
More than $245,000 in "allowances" - such as for the construction company to pay for trash disposal, temporary utilities and police details - racked up since construction began in October 2010.
"On some of these items, unforeseen conditions caused us to go over these allowances," said Todd McCabe, of Consigli Construction. "Dumpsters, trash chutes and window protections are just bad estimates going into the bid."
McCabe told committee members that the project incurred extra temporary utility costs following Tropical Storm Irene. Officials had scheduled NSTAR to turn on permanent power for the first week of September, but the company had to push off the appointment.
"Those are the overages that I would consider out of my control," McCabe said.
Butler said, "It's pretty substantial allowance overages for sure."
The committee's contingency budget could dwindle to as low as $6,000, without taking into account line items where the committee has saved money.
Legal fees and testing costs were over-budgeted, with about $162,000 leftover. Those savings will get added to the contingency pot.
After the committee pays for change requests they approve, the remaining money in the contingency will go toward paying to remove soil from a pile of dirt from the project that currently sits between homes on Hazelnut Place and Whiting Avenue. Money from the contingency will also be used to pay for trees and shrubs for the mound of soil that will remain. In the fall, project crews cut down about 40 trees to make way for the soil.
The committee continues to explore in-town options for removing the soil pile that includes moving it to the Striar Property with the help of the Department of Public Works, which would drastically reduce the cost of removing up to 4,000 cubic yards of material.
But in order to go through with the in-town plan, project officials estimate the work would need to be done before April 1.
"If we don't make a decision by mid-March, we are looking at a cost that exceeds our contingency," Lawlor said.