Update on construction of new high school in Sioux Falls

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - The Sioux Falls School District has a total estimated cost to build the Thomas Jefferson High School on the west side of the city.

Right now, the total overall project budget for Thomas Jefferson High School is projected to be roughly $5.3 million below budget.

"We've received bids for pretty much the whole project now, through the general contractor, construction manager," Jeff Kreiter, Sioux Falls School District director of operational services, said. "And so, if you're looking at all the pieces of the puzzle, we're about $5 million ahead of where we should be."

The extra five million dollars will be put in an owner contingency, which means the district will have control over the extra cash.

"Fourteen months after we passed the bond issue and so far so good," Dr. Brian Maher, Sioux Falls Schools superintendent, said. "It's too early; I wouldn't panic if we were over budget. So, I'm not going to celebrate too much, given the fact that we're under budget. But, given the alternative over or under, I am glad we're under at this point."

A lot of construction has already happened for the high school since they broke ground in June. Already, there are exterior walls put in, and the framework for the buildings is visible.

"It gives you a lot better feel that the project will be under budget, at or under budget," Kreiter said. "There's a lot of pieces to the puzzle, a lot of furnishings, technology that has to be done yet, cameras, and that sort of thing. We've got some lumps built-in in estimates that we'll probably be able to do additional casework in the storage rooms, instead of buying furnishings for it. We haven't decided that yet."

The district's goal is to continue to remain under budget while the construction of the brand new school continues.

"I think it's unusual to be as far under budget as we are, I do," Dr. Maher said. "I think we're really fortunate at catching this at the right time."

The total cost of constructing the high school is roughly $89 million. The timeline for construction is still on track. And the school will be open for the fall of 2021.