Lowell

Lowell High School Renovation Project Is More Than $38M Over Budget

A school renovation project in Lowell, Massachusetts, is tens of millions of dollars over budget, with representatives from Skanska and Suffolk Construction blaming costs that have been rising since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

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A school renovation project in Lowell, Massachusetts, is tens of millions of dollars over budget.

With construction underway for renovations at Lowell High School, the city council has learned that the project is costing about $38.5 million more than expected.

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Representatives with Skanska — the owner's project manager — and Suffolk Construction blame the situation on rising costs from the pandemic.

They say some of the biggest costs are associated with a 139% increase in steel mill products, a 64% increase in lumber and a 24% increase in gypsum.

"We're in a tough spot right now, but we're not alone in this," Lowell City Councilor John Leahy said. "COVID is affecting everything. Prices are going up."

Leahy says the city plans on asking the state legislature for help with the costs and looking for other ways to help ease the burden on taxpayers.

"We're in crazy times right now, and we'll get over this," he said.

There will be a public hearing on March 29 to discuss the increased costs.

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