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Cohen: New Newton North cost is $197.5 million, firm. Honest.

Posted by Ralph Ranalli March 16, 2008 10:42 AM

An artist's conception of Newton North students enjoying their new $197.5 million high school. Not pictured: Stressed out parents and taxpayers.
(City of Newton image)

Newton Mayor David B. Cohen said he has drawn a "line in the sand" on the cost of the Newton North High School project, and that line is just south of $200 million.

Cohen has announced that he will ask the city's Board of Aldermen for $197.5 million in bond authorization for the project, which has already broken ground. While the figure is not necessarily the guaranteed maximum price that the city's project manager at risk, Dimeo Construction, will be held to, Cohen said that all the parties involved in the construction -- including Dimeo -- have signed off on the maximum figure.

"This is the line in the sand," said Cohen said in a statement released by his office. "At this price we can be sure that this outstanding community facility will be of the highest quality, meet our high expectations, fulfill our public schools' dynamic academic and wellness curriculum, and provide an environmentally friendly and structurally sound building that many generations of Newton residents will be proud of."

"With this announcement we bring closure to the period of uncertainty regarding the cost of Newton North, enabling us to collectively look forward to building on the significant on-site progress happening each day," Cohen said.

The $197.5 million figure represents a 40 percent increase in the project's estimated price since Newton voters approved the current site plan in January 2007. It is a 6 percent increase over the cost estimate made public by the city just two months ago, although at that time Cohen said that the price was likely to go higher.

-- Ralph Ranalli

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