The following is another excerpt from an editorial in the Birmingham Eccentric, April 1, 2007, from School Board President, Steve Weiss, in response to Don Greenwell, Jr. Editorial published March 25, 2007. Below each excerpt is Mr. Greenwell, Jr’s position.
Overpriced? A firm with expertise in school construction was purposely chosen to audit the pricing, and compared our cost estimates with those of like schools adjusted for location, inflation and instructional elements. The audit revealed that the estimate we received is within 1 percent. Furthermore, we compared our cost to similar-sized high school built in Michigan, and again we fell within the average range.
Mr. Greenwell, Jr. Responds:
The firm with “expertise in school construction” is not a Contractor, but rather the largest Program Manager in the country in the field of transportation, subways, bridges and infrastructure. Contractors that competitively bid construction projects are knowledgeable in costs - their future depends on it! But Program Managers are experts in managment. In this case, schools are a minor portion of their line of work, and those precious few are very controversial and troubled projects. The administration went all the way to Coral Gables Florida branch of this firm, in spite of the fact that they have a Detroit office.
Even if we are to assume the expertise exists, validating that these buildings are designed to be very expensive is of absolutely no value. Cost comparisons of other Michigan high schools versus our proposed schools were shown to be unfavorable to the District in the previous comments on hand-selected projects.