The construction company tasked with building a new high school has told the city it needs an additional $1.4 million to finish the school's auditorium.
Coogan Construction's 2006 bid to do finishing work for Thunder Mountain High School's auditorium was for about $2.1 million, but that bid expired before voters approved the project in a special election last summer.
Coogan's new price tag for the project is about $3.5 million. City officials can either seek a new bid or scale back some of the proposed parts of the new auditorium.
Superintendent Peggy Cowan said a project group made up of city and school officials recommended the latter option - meaning the auditorium be built, but without the theater lighting, rigging and other technology Coogan said would cost about $932,000.
That would get the cost of the project under the $3 million the city had budgeted for while giving the new school a working auditorium, Cowan said.
"It certainly would be a useable room," Cowan said, who referred questions about what the city's next move would be to Roger Healy, the city's engineering director. He could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Juneau School Board member Mark Choate said he'd like the city to shop around for a new contractor to finish the auditorium, because he thinks the new costs are unreasonable.
He said the city's engineering department told him they can't understand how Coogan's bid jumped so much.
"(Coogan) used this rebidding to basically take advantage of us," Choate said.
Coogan Construction owner Lloyd Coogan pointed out the rapidly rising cost of fuel and called the reason for the price increase a "no-brainer."
Richard Burns, project manager for Coogan, added that labor costs have increased as well.
The construction company, which is also building the $60 million new high school, recently told the city that it was basically back on track for finishing the school on time by this summer. It had earlier fallen 60 days behind because of bad weather.
Contact reporter Alan Suderman at 523-2268 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
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