Tisbury School project deficit tops $25 million

Town to seek more funds from voters.

The Tisbury School project appears to be $25 million in the hole. — Rich Saltzberg

A new cost estimate for the Tisbury School renovation and reconstruction project puts the project close to $26 million in the hole, and predicts the final price tag at nearly $82 million without changes to the original plans, according to a report compiled by the owner’s project manager, Daedalus.

“It’s been going up. Now it’s all very clear terms. It is a substantial increase,” town administrator Jay Grande said Wednesday.

The select board was scheduled to discuss the project to set a town meeting date for next month as The Times went to press on Wednesday. “I expect we’re going to be asking voters for an additional $26 million,” Grande said.

The report shows a dramatic increase in prices for a project that was already considered $10 million in the hole. The report, authored by senior project manager Michael Owen, cites inflation exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic and supply chain issues. Steel prices alone have gone up 127 percent between 2020 and 2021, according to the report.

The report notes that the construction manager, architect ,and owner’s project manager have conducted “in-depth value engineering” to consider alternate designs, and settled on one — with the support of town officials — known as Option 3,which reduces the administrative addition and the overall square footage of the building, but still meets the school’s educational needs.
“Finally, as we look into the near future, we see no reverse in the impacts of the current market conditions, and expect the cost to complete the project will continue to rise, and anticipate continuing increases in cost based on market volatility paired with decreases in available labor or bidder interest.” 

Grande, who released the report to The Times Wednesday, said earlier in the day he expected that a draft guaranteed maximum price for the project that is due on August 8 will be pretty close to the $82 million price tag detailed in the Daedelus report.

The school building committee got an update on the project earlier this week, but the new prices weren’t yet available. 



  1. The White House is changing the definition of ”recession” so lets just change the definition of budget deficit. 82mm is the proposed and the 52mm before is just a wild —guess. It really always was 82mm until later when it becomes something larger. It doesnt matter, someone will pay.

    • Of course we are in a recession.
      Look at the unemployment rate and wages.
      Burger flipper managers making more money than school teachers.

      • Don, I read the Newsweek “fact check” and it appears to be a great deal of verbal gymnastics going on and a lot of whatabouttrumpism too. And Newsweek is also a left of center media outlet. https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/newsweek/ I watch all sorts of news programs and have for many years and the general accepted practice of calling a recession has always been 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth. We have that as reported today. Calling it anything else is gaslighting, moving the goal posts, spin, fake news etc. I’ll give the WH the benefit of the doubt up until todays report. If they don’t say we are in a recession they further lose credibility with us citizens.

      • Keller I don’t go to Newsweek or Fox or MSNBC or Mother Jones or NYTimes or Washington Post or any of the rags you read and watch. I have National Review and Claremont Review of Books at my bedside along with the King James Bible and that’s all I need. Feel free to jump on this rightwing hater and religious freak.

  2. “I do not think the U.S. is currently in a recession and the reason is there are too many areas of the economy that are performing too well” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell

  3. The only regret in life that I can think of is moving to Vineyard Haven from Edgartown where I grew up after I got married.
    Now it is way to late to even think about going back, damn!

    • Why don’t you move back?
      Ever wonder why Edgartown real estate taxes are so much lower than Tisbury?
      Ever wonder, when for purposes of discussion,
      Edgartown real estate costs twice as much as Tisbury.
      Life is choices.
      Even the draft.

  4. They have barely begun and they are already $25 million over budget? Does anyone actually think this will be the last time they ask the taxpayers to pony up more cash? Shameful.

  5. I attended the vote on the new school when it was estimated at $55 million. At that time the board said that figure included an $8 million contingency. Apparently, that has been used up already, along with the $27M increase. In recent discussions the board doesn’t mention that. This is evidence of a lack of transparency.

  6. Tisbury does not need a school. Build a regional school at the High School. All towns should join in. I guess 100 million would be saved in the next 20 years.

  7. Less than 48 hours ago someone told me to “please stop with the hand wringing over spilled milk.”
    Ok, I am done hand wringing over spilled milk.
    Now I’m hand wringing over the milk that is still in the container and being poured onto the floor.
    Where does it stop ?
    I predicted this would go over 100 million months ago.

  8. carl– andy said the Wh was changing the definition. That is not true. I’m sure he heard that on fox news or some other right leaning media a few days before the numbers were out. Reddit claimed the numbers were already out when they were not.
    So newsweek is left of center, but rated as pretty honest in it’s reporting.
    The article I referenced is labeled as ” analysys” which means it’s more complicated than a 20 second soundbite.
    So their analysis was that it’s basically too close to call until the numbers are adjusted, as they always are.
    I’m not saying that we aren’t in a recession but the Biden admin has not changed the definition.

    • Understood… and just finished a conversation with a NYU/Stern grad student and a Princeton student about our countries current predicament. They seem to be more concerned than I am about our financial future now with another government spending bill being crafted. The 32 hamburger will be here to stay. However, I am confused naive or both by thinking that the sky isn’t falling because unemployment is still very low and new jobs are still being created. This administration needs to admit that we are in a recession focus on inflation and stop spending. Unlikely the spending will stop by either party. Kind of concerning.

      • The purpose of currency is not just as a medium of exchange but as a capture of work. “Savings” are representations of work you have done (or others have done and exchanged for you, ideally for goods or services). Inflation eats away at those savings. The work you did five years ago is now worth less than it was. At the current inflation rate (let’s say 8.6%), your savings will halve in 8.37 years; at the previously long holding 2%, that halving would have taken 36 years. This is a catastrophe for those on fixed incomes or in public sector contracted jobs where the salary/contracts are not negotiated in response to market forces but instead based on political/tax-payer pressure. A fixed income that does not respond to rising prices means you have less purchasing power than you did before with the same money, making thoughts of things like “retirement” challenging to say the least.

        In contrast, this “recession” talk isn’t the end of the world, as the reduction in GDP is not huge and is likely a response to the economy grappling with uncertainty, dwindling government expenditures, and the beginning of deglobalization. They’re measuring GDP from the height of a vast, debt-fueled speculative bubble currently deflating. This doesn’t sound great but said bubble deflating slowly and in a controlled manner instead of popping as it did during the ’08 financial crisis is arguably the best case scenario.

        I’m no economist, but I’m very bullish about the next few decades in the USA compared to the rest of the world. I know it’s not fashionable to say and wouldn’t generate clicks/sell ads. Still, the reality is that the underlying economic strength of the United States is actually on the rise. If we can get this inflation under control for essentials (food, fuel, roofs), we’ll be in far better shape than our global peers.

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