City Manager Proposes Contingency Funds to Meet Fourth Middle Gap

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

A bird's-eye view of WJCC schools' proposed fourth middle school from the vantage point of Longhill Road at Ironbound Road. (Image courtesy of Waller, Todd & Sadler Architects)
A bird’s-eye view of WJCC schools’ proposed fourth middle school from the vantage point of Longhill Road at Ironbound Road. (Image courtesy of Waller, Todd & Sadler Architects)

City Manager Marvin Collins has emphasized the City of Williamsburg’s support for the fourth middle school by including up to $2.2 million in contingency funds as part of his proposed Fiscal 2017 Capital Improvement Program.

The allocation would help cover a potential funding gap in excess of $2.2 million. The James City County Board of Supervisors committed $21 million and the City Council committed $2,584,000 to the construction of the school in the CIP for fiscal 2016, which ends June 30.

Construction of Phase 1 of the school, which would accommodate 600 students, is estimated to cost $25,798,759, according to a March 22 fact sheet from the WJCC School Division.

The city allocated a total of $3,066,285 in FY15 and FY16 to the project, according to a summary in the proposed budget. Collins writes that the $2.2 million would only be provided after project funds are expended and additional funds are deemed necessary to comply with the final construction contract.

In a letter addressed to funding partners Jan. 19, WJCC School Board Chairman Jim Kelly (Jamestown) and vice chairwoman Kyra Cook (City of Williamsburg) explained they were at a “a critical juncture” with the project and sought clarification for how the potential deficit would be resolved.

Cook said she was grateful for the allocation.

“It’s a relief. It’s almost like having an insurance policy to move forward,” Cook said. “I hope it’s another reflection of this community’s commitment to work together across jurisdictional boundaries and our funding partners to work together.”

Kelly and Cook noted the project’s price tag will remain “unknown” until bids come in from potential contractors. Additionally, updated cost estimates will not be available until 95 percent of the design phase is completed.

The building design phase is projected to conclude in May and bidding could begin as early as June, according to the school division.

Adoption of the city budget is expected May 12.

Related Coverage: