Thursday, August 11, 2011 Is this the high school you want?

Over on, Dan Rothschild has written a great article about the recently released cost-cutting changes to the high-school plans. If you’re wondering what’s been changed or what those changes mean – and you should – read his article.

Mr. Rothschild argues that, when bids for the school board’s preferred design came in almost 20% over budget, the school board was forced to drastically reduce the cost of the project. But how?

Examining the list of proposed cost reductions, Mr. Rothschild concludes that the school board is attempting to cling to its original design and extract savings by “diminishing” that design, cutting away or downgrading pieces of it.

But drastic cost reductions, he continues, usually require a different design or substantial design modifications – if you want to preserve your original design intent. That’s because everything that was part of the original design was there for a reason. If you cut that design back by a fifth, you’re likely to sacrifice things that were essential to it. (Think about it: if a four-fifths version of the original high-school design would have met our original design goals, wouldn’t we have gotten that design in the first place?)

So Mr. Rothschild asks, highlighting some of the things our community is likely to give up with the diminished design, “Is this the high school you want?”

Is it?

Read his article, consider what we’re giving up, and think about that question.

Also consider the alternative that Mr. Rothschild offers: Reusing Building C. If you would like this alternative to get the consideration it is due, ask the school board to study it and estimate not only its potential cost savings but also its potential educational benefits.

Mt. Lebanon does have more than one option. It’s time for the school board to stop acting like it doesn’t.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Moertel's comment, “..if a four-fifths version of the original high-school design would have met our original design goals, wouldn’t we have gotten that design in the first place?”, is exactly on point.

I downloaded the “Potential Project Cost Savings Worksheet” PDF file and went over it carefully. Since my background is in electronics, and I've had experience in the design and operation of radio stations, I was particularly interested in the substitutions made in the “Electrical” area. (Although I would love to dig into pro and cons of aluminum vs. copper in industrial electrical panels and transformers, this is probably not the place to do it, as I would end up writing a book!) That aside, after reading the entire document I think it would be clear to anyone, regardless of his or her background, that what is being offered is essentially the same product but made with less desirable materials (the “good” out of “good, better, best”).

What we have here is the equivalent of a man who wants to buy a top-of-the-line Cadillac to impress his neighbors, but only has enough money for a mid-sized Chevrolet. However, instead of buying the Chevrolet he tries to get GM to build the Cadillac without rear brakes, without a front passenger's airbag, and with no rear seat. “And eliminate the hood ornament, too!”
Richard Gideon

August 11, 2011 4:25 PM  
Blogger Bill Matthews said...

The choices the Board is making in redesigning the project are extremely disappointing.

Borrowing from J. K. Rowling in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets:

It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

August 11, 2011 9:49 PM  
Anonymous John David Kendrick said...

Bill Lewis is correct - and speaking of choices, we FINALLY have a CANDIDATE with the RIGHT POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE running for president!

I think that Rick Perry is going to be an outstanding president, and I hope that the machine will make the proper choice and pledge their full support to his election.

August 15, 2011 12:20 AM  
Anonymous John David Kendrick said...

Rick Santorum could (and I emphasize COULD) balance the ticket as his VP.

August 15, 2011 12:06 PM  

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