When voters approved the Granite Bond in 2017, projects immediately began moving forward. Since that time, multiple schools have been remodeled, two elementary schools have been rebuilt, Hunter High School added a new building wing, several schools have received security and building upgrades, and construction has begun on rebuilding Cyprus and Skyline high schools.
All of these projects were established along the Phase I timeline of a 30-40 year strategic plan to rebuild and renovate all schools in Granite, with the schools in most need of building updates at the top of the timeline.
From the time the bond was approved, however, construction costs have risen at a historic rate. Between 2017 and 2020, costs increased about 10 percent every year (compounded yearly). For 2021 and beyond, costs are estimated to increase 6 to 7 percent annually. Utah’s economy shows no signs of slowing, and many large projects across the state are keeping all areas of the construction industry very busy. Combine this with a decline in the construction labor force and hikes in prices for materials (exacerbated by tariffs and the COVID-19 pandemic), and the result has been major leaps in costs in a short amount of time.
The challenge, therefore, is to hold construction costs to budget, especially between now and 2025 while two high schools are under construction.
In order to achieve this and keep the district’s cash flow for capital projects ‘in the black,’ our remaining Phase I projects need to be delayed five to seven years.
The damage to West Lake STEM Junior High as a result of the March 2020 earthquake also presents financial challenges as insurance settlements may not cover all rehabilitation/rebuild costs.
Despite the hurdles, we are moving forward with projects as quickly as possible given the circumstances.