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Mission High School construction projected to cost more than $30 million

20140117 MHS SchematicsMISSION—Mission CISD is looking at spending more than $30 million to complete the third phase of the Mission High School renovation, according to Eli Ochoa, president and CEO of ERO Architects.

In June 2010, MCISD entered into an agreement with ERO Architects, which started baseline studies and kicked off the planning process of the MHS facelift. The district only had a construction budget of $18 million for the renovation project from a 2008 bond.

“The estimate is based on forecasting of when this project will be bought out, which is about 20 months from now,” Ochoa said. “We have been doing a lot of market studies on what has been happening throughout the state and what is coming up to the Valley. We have a preliminary estimate and right now it is at $33 million.”

Ochoa explained a letter was sent to Rick Rivera, executive director for maintenance, facilities and construction, with the information a day before the facilities committee meeting. He said he would like to discuss further with the facilities department and Superintendent Ricardo Lopez about the projected total and MHS plans before it is brought to the board for approval.

“I’m just a little confused. Why would we initially say that we could do the scope of work within the $18 million budget?” Lopez asked. “That is almost double. You told me $24 million, initially. When I met with a few members of your team, they said they could scale down and get it under the $18 million.”

Lopez said one change in the scope of work included adding serving lines in the cafeteria.

Ochoa said changes made added approximately 24,000 square feet to the project. Square footage was added to the cafeteria and the academic wing, according to Ochoa.

David Iglesias, project manager for ERO Architects, said a new building with an added 49 classrooms would be built where the current visitors parking, campus flagpoles and Eagle Café sit.

Iglesias said building “M” which sits just south of Mission Collegiate High School portables would be turned into the administration building. While building “N,” which sits to the east of building “M” will house the JROTC program.

Rivera said each classroom was only supposed to have necessities and no luxuries.

“It would be great to have a facility like that, but we have to be realistic,” Patricia O’Caña-Olivarez said. “The reality is we are going to have to be pitching in for the ag farm, and we only have so much funds,”

Ochoa stressed that the buildings designed were not “gold-plated,” but the construction program was very aggressive and the construction market is changing.

“One thing we can’t control and what you can’t control is where the market is going,” Ochoa said. “This is a very complicated environment that we are going to be working in. There are students around there, and we are going to be bisecting the campus from east to west. There are going to be a lot of safety issues that the contractor is going to have to deal with.”

Lopez agreed the district had no other choice than to sit down and discuss the project with administration members, the facilities committee and ERO Architects. He said that $30 million was too much for the project.

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