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Newton North High project price fixed at $195 million

Posted by Ralph Ranalli August 11, 2008 05:22 PM

Newton Mayor David Cohen announced today that the state's most expensive school building project, the new Newton North High School, will cost $195.2 million, said mayoral spokesman Jeremy Solomon.

After six and a half weeks of negotiation, the mayor signed a contract with construction manager Dimeo Construction Co. at a press conference today. The city hired Dimeo Construction under a relatively new law that allows municipalities bypass competitive bidding and hire a "construction manager at risk."

As such, Dimeo must bring the project in at a "guaranteed maximum price" (GMP) or pay the difference out of its own pocket.

"The signing of the GMP signifies the end of the cost increases we have endured during the life of this project," Cohen said at the press conference. "With construction well underway, and with the project ceiling solidified, the Newton North project is on track."

According to Cohen, the final GMP for Dimeo's part of the project will be $162.8 million. The city is also spending about $33 million for design work and other costs associated with the new high school.

In recent weeks, the city was able to negotiate the price down by about $2.2 million, Cohen said in a letter sent to the Board of Aldermen earlier in the day.

"In negotiating the [guaranteed maximum price] with our Construction Manager, Dimeo Construction, our project team scrutinized every assumption in every line item in the project," Cohen wrote. "Working together with Dimeo, we were able to bring down cost assumptions based on the project’s progress and on the bids that we received earlier this summer."

"We remain on track for a September 2010 opening, with our pace of construction proceeding as expected," Cohen wrote. "Now that we know the maximum price of this facility with certainty, it is my hope that our community can collectively look forward to this project for what it is: an investment in Newton’s future schoolchildren."

The high cost of the project prompted state officials -- who will pay reimburse the city for roughly a quarter of the project's cost -- to launch an unprecedented crackdown on local school construction spending.

-- Rachana Rathi and Ralph Ranalli

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