Randy Yohe Published

Skyrocketing Building Costs Affecting W.Va. School Construction Projects

College graduates' mortar boards make a giant price tag.

Inflated building costs are causing school construction projects across West Virginia to go back to the drawing board.

In April of last year, seven West Virginia counties (Mercer, Jefferson, Roane, Greenbrier, Mineral, Ohio and Summers) divided up $75 million in state funding to either replace, renovate or relocate outdated school buildings.

But with rising construction costs, the state School Building Authority (SBA) estimates a 25 percent increase to fund those projects, maybe more.

SBA Director of Special Projects Sue Chapman said the authority is working to refinance bonds and get an additional $29.5 million to supplement project costs.

She said each school district will also have to pare down on their original construction plans.

“Each of those counties are going to have to go back and look at their projects,” Chapman said. “And take those projects down to the minimum of what the school building authority may require in their policies for construction.”

Chapman said the state’s debt payment on the bond refinancing will come from excess lottery funds.