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Stretching $25.2M in bonds

Ripon Unified may use lease/leaseback

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POSTED April 6, 2013 2:36 a.m.

Ripon Unified is looking to remodel Weston School thanks to a voter-approved bond measure.

Preliminary plans call for reconfiguring the existing multi-purpose building – this facility is to be “repurposed” to accommodate the new library, speech classes, Title 1 classes, and a Learning Center / Resource Specialist Program – and constructing a gym with 4,200-square-foot of floor space.

Permanent classrooms will replace the aging portables, with each room at 1,000 square feet and shared space to store instructional materials.

 But in order to make the best use the $25.2 million bond measure – an estimated $10 million is being set aside for the Weston project along with $600,000 in reserves – the school board could go with the lease/leaseback option.

Trustees recently heard district architect Tim Huff and the Program Management Integration LLC team discuss this methodology for school construction.

At Monday’s meeting, they’ll consider going with lease/leaseback during the 7 p.m. open session in the Council Chambers at Ripon City Hall, 259 N. Wilma Ave.

Under a lease/leaseback, the contractor and architect work together in the early stages on the design of the school plans, thus, taking out plenty of the guess work – that’s due in part to the architect designing the school and contractor providing his input and assistance, accord to Huff.

From here, the contractor can agree to enter into a contract to construct for the guaranteed maximum price. This also takes change orders of any type out of the equation.

RUSD, in this case, can lease the property to the contractor, who, in turn, will lease the finished product back to the district.

At the completion of construction coupled with the end of the lease period, the school becomes property once again of the district.

Huff said that many neighboring school district including Manteca Unified use lease/leaseback, with successful results.

Some of the savings have afforded school districts to add new furniture to accompany the completed project, he added.

The board directed PMI staff to prepare a “Request for Qualification,” which is the preliminary process for the lease/leaseback. This allows for the appropriate firms to respond, as a pre-qualification, to the construction of Weston.

From here, the district would then be able to negotiate with pre-qualified bidders for the best service and price for the project.

For more information on the school board meeting, log on to www.riponusd.net.

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