Editorial: School building costs soaring

Oak Harbor School District officials and community volunteers are planning a couple of upcoming bond elections: One to build a new Memorial Stadium and associated athletic facilities, and another to remodel the high school.

The Coupeville School District just went through such a process, which was perfectly executed except for one fact — they didn’t anticipate the high inflation in the building industry. As a result, voters will be getting a smaller high school than advertised, and other improvements will have to wait until different funding sources are discovered. Coupeville will still be have a new high school it can be proud of, but there would have been more had the inflation been anticipated and figured into the bond proposal.

Oak Harbor planners should leave plenty of wiggle room for inflation, which could exceed even the 12 percent the Coupeville project is experiencing. Exorbitant energy costs show no signs of declining, and the cost building basics such as concrete are rising rapidly due, in part, to the huge demand from China.

It’s never easy to pass a school bond in Oak Harbor, so make sure the upcoming bond proposals will get the jobs done in their entirety. It’s better to rebate some money to taxpayers than risk not being able to deliver all of what was promised.

Despite inflation concerns, one thing is certain. It’ll be a lot cheaper to build the new facilities now than five or ten years down the road.

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