Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

STUNNING: Putting $22.7 to $26million for HVAC/ mechanicals replacement in perspective, pt1

Elmbrook, Elmbrook 2008 Referendum, High Schools

Sometimes you just cannot see the forest for the trees. I know I didn't see the HVAC/mechanicals costs for the Athletics costs. I wish I had more answers for you right now, but the following musings are just some of my observations. Take them for what they are worth.

If we had more time before election day, I would wait until I had those answers nailed down. But seeing as the referendum is 2 days away, I believe you need to at least think about this huge dollar amount for yourself. If I receive any updates, I will post them as soon as possible. (Internet connection permitting)

I really didn't notice those HVAC/mechanicals costs until that YES vote resident's phone call to me on Friday. That person forwarded me an email from John Foster of CGSchmidt, informing that Athletics/Phy.Ed. related costs were not $21million as the document seemingly indicated but $15.8 million. This was because $5.2 million of the original $21 million was for HVAC replacements in the existing gym areas.

John wrote, "The $5.2 million renovation costs are associated with the HVAC ("mechanicals") upgrade being done at both schools and corresponds to the "square footage share" of the existing physical education spaces (gyms, pools, locker rooms, etc.) much of which are converted into academic space."

Wow. $5.2 million just to do the HVAC/mechanical upgrades to the existing gym space? Stunning. Especially when you consider that the pool areas will not be air conditioned. (At least that is what Facility Manager Shawn said on the Central tour. That also concurs with the opinion of an HVAC person I consulted.)

I thought, if it costs $5.2 million dollars to do the HVAC or "mechanicals" as Foster refers to it, how much is it to replace the entire HVAC system which will allow us to air conditioning the whole school? It must be astronomical.

I emailed Andy Smith, Tom Gehl, and Glen Allgaier that question. If the referendum fails, regarding HVAC improvements or replacements, "what will be done and what are the costs associated with those upgrades?"  An article in Brookfieldnow hinted that some things would be done with or without the referendum.

Tom and Glen answered promptly. Glen gave me a dollar amount: $26 million.  "In terms of the overall HVAC system replacement as proposed, however, it is difficult for me to envision any possible way that a $26 million total expenditure on HVAC could be absorbed within...budget..."

Oh, my goodness. $26 million? Just for HVAC replacement?

Look at the Summary of major drivers from CGSchmidt. This document shows Mechanical & Electrical Upgrades: $25.6 million. (I believe this would include the old gym space as well because the New Gymnasium Additions are listed at $15.8mil.)

The dollar amount attributed to replacing mechanical systems in Elmbrook clarifies athletic costs stated, "Of the $62.2 million project, the largest percentage of money will go to replacing mechanical systems: about $22.7 million." (Emphasis added.)

As happens so often, the article also gave a differing figure than the one John Foster gave for the total being spent on athletics and phy. ed., which just adds to the confusion. The article stated $18.2 million for the new gym related buildings rather than John's email of $15.8 million. I am to the point of frustration of not quibbling over a few million! (That is saying a lot.)

But something is just not sitting right with me about these numbers, beyond the seemingly $3.3million difference between the lowest HVAC replacement/upgrade number of $22.7 million and highest of $26 million, when you calculate out the per square foot costs for those replacements.

Stay with me now. I know this is long, but this is important and $20-something million is a LOT of money--more than the gyms--and most of it is not for academics!

If you use John Foster's $5.2 million exclusion from athletic costs for the "HVAC ("mechanicals") upgrade of the existing gyms, pools, locker rooms, etc" i.e.existing gym space, and divide that by the total square feet of existing gym space at both schools, you should some sort of average for HVAC upgrades/square foot cost.  

Dr. Gibson's square footage for existing PE/Athletics was 68,413 square feet, but that was for just gym areas. To calculate the existing gym, pools, locker rooms, etc. space, I measured the plans. I came up with about 120,000 total square feet of existing PE/Athletic space at both schools. $5.2 million divided by 120,000 = $43.33/sq. ft. for the HVAC ("mechanicals") upgrade. That ratio is without taking the converted space out. 

(I do think it should be taken out because if you are looking at how much per square foot it is to re purpose an area, the HVAC/mechanicals should be included for an honest assessment. With the re-purposed old gym at East and Aux gym at Central removed, the total PE/Athletic space at both schools is 94,660 sq. ft. Now take the $5.2 million divided by 94,660 sq. ft. = $54.93/sq. ft. for HVAC/mechanical upgrades. That gives a rather different perspective on the claim that repurposing former gym space is cheaper than building new classrooms?)

But either way, we are looking at around $43 to $55/square foot. Remember though, the pools are not air conditioned, so this number is a little lower than for the remaining portion of the schools.

Well as usual, I am long here and I think you need some time to digest this.

I am going to stop now and let you chew on this while I work on something else.  But be thinking of what else could be done with that $22.7 to $26million for HVAC/mechanicals upgrades for the entire old portion of the school. Seems to me we should be getting more academic bang for our buck.


Correction: C G SCHMIDT Cost summary of Referendum


Elmbrook School District Referendum Links:

Frequently Asked Questions  Not to be missed!

HSST Meeting Minutes 

Cost Breakdowns of Type of Work (cost per square footage)

Architect's Conceptual High School Floorplans--East and Central

Facility "Needs" comparison of failed 2007 and present 2008 referendums

Key Academic Benefits: click on that subject heading.

Tax Calculator  

Elmbrook asks for smaller expansion--JSOnline (Also includes links to past articles)

Still no link to the 2008 Election Edition of the Link. Hope you got your copy.
counter hit xanga

Former 2007 Referendum Facilities Facts Sheets (Still a good read)


The countdown continues: Just 2 days until MILLIONS OF DOLLARS Tuesday!

Email me your thoughts on the $62.2 million dollar referendum.

Links: Brookfield7, Betterbrookfield Vicki Mckenna 


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