Scarlet Oak School Project Update 5/30/2024


Thank you for your patience while we got our ducks in a row for the new Scarlet Oak!  Over the last few years, we’ve had a variety of projects where we used Green Associates as our architects. To better align with our vision and budget, we researched new firms and the Board of Education selected Cordogan Clark for our Scarlet Oak project. This partnership better aligns with our vision to create the best facility for our staff and students.

As we’ve been saving for this project, with construction costs continuously rising and not going down, it’s best to do a complete renovation on the existing building along with an addition. Engineers looked at the building and the bones are great! The renovation would include refreshed classrooms, cabinetry, windows, and most importantly mechanical including plumbing, HVAC, and electrical.

Over the past few years, the construction industry has been a tough market to navigate.  When the conversations of a new Scarlet Oak School began before COVID, the cost per square foot for construction was under $250.  Then, like other industries, construction costs began to rise. From $350 per square foot in 2021-22, to $500-600 per square foot for new construction that we are currently seeing now.  This has made us reassess our plans for Scarlet a couple of times.

Due to Arbor Park School District’s current debt structure, there is currently a flexibility available for the financing of this project.  The Board of Education could finance this project without the requirement of a referendum and with minimal or no impact on the taxpayer.  That is the goal of our school board.  However, to do this, the district must stick to a hard budget for this project, which can present a challenge with the current market conditions. Due to this limitation, this will determine if Scarlet will be grades 1-3 or 1-4. This all depends on construction costs at the time of the bid opening. We are going for 1-4, but if needed and to stay fiscally responsible, grades 4-8 will be housed at APMS. As we have with past projects, we will get creative in funding alternative sources such as grants and incentive programs.

Here is the projected timeline:

  • October 2024, out to bid
  • December 2024, BOE approval
  • February 2025, start new construction
  • 2 summers (Summer ’25 and ’26) of renovations in the old space
  • August 2026, open entire building (renovated and new).

Thank you!

Dave & Andrew