Beginning in October 2017, more than 85 community volunteers of the Bond Task Force spent five months evaluating three School District options to address numerous facility-related problems in the buildings of the Ferndale High School campus.

fhs campus_cropped
Current Ferndale High School campus (right side is North)

Renovation vs. New Construction

Due to the age of the gym and cafeteria, the Bond Task Force decided renovating these buildings would not reduce annual maintenance costs or cost-effectively extend the useful life of these buildings. Renovating the other decades-old buildings on campus presented other issues.

Current students in front of 1936 section of high school campus (“Old Main”)

After much discussion, the Bond Task Force determined it wouldn’t be financially prudent to spend tens of millions of dollars trying to renovate all the old buildings on the Ferndale High School campus and instead proposed:

Construct a new, approximately 220,000 square-foot, two-story high school at the current location, and renovate the Performing Arts Center for an estimated total cost of $107 million: $101 million for the building; $4 million for a new stadium, with turf football field, and track; and $2 million for the Performing Arts Center renovations.

Designing the New High School

The most cost-effective method of designing new buildings is called General Contractor/Construction Manager (GCCM), which brings the architect and construction contractor together before and during the design process to save time and money once the project begins. In the coming months, the School District will begin the process of writing proposals in order to select the team who will design and build the new high school.

Estimating Costs of a New High School

The estimated cost of a new, stand-alone high school building was provided by an architectural firm hired by the school district and is based on recent costs for comparable buildings, specifically $325/square foot. Construction of the proposed 220,000 square foot building is therefore estimated to be $72,000,000. Ferndale High School currently has an enrollment of nearly 1400 students and the new high school will be designed to accommodate up to 1600 students. Street frontage improvements are likely to be required by the City with an estimated cost of $1,000,000.

A conservative estimate of the costs of architectural and engineering plans, permitting fees, sales tax, and contingencies adds an estimated 35% to the cost of the building project. The $2 million Performing Arts Center renovation and $4 million cost of the new athletic fields bring the total to $107 million.

FHS Site plan w- N (1)
Proposed Site Plan for New Ferndale High School Campus (North is to Left)

The proposed two-story high school will be located northeast of the Performing Arts Center (see image above). This location would allow classes to continue in the current buildings until the new main building is completed, minimizing disruption to the students and staff.

A New Two-Story High School Will Include:

  • Adaptable/expandable classroom, lab, and common areas, including art classrooms moved from the PAC
  • Cafeteria
  • Gymnasium complex that can hold the entire student body
  • Dedicated Career and Technical Education (CTE) space for all current programs, with the ability for future expansion
  • Large reduction of uncontrolled ingress/egress points within the high school campus and improved exterior lighting
  • Dedicated space for all electrical power saving equipment currently in use (wind and solar)
  • New play and practice fields; current weight room will remain

Performing Arts Center Renovations Will Include:

  • Ground water intrusion repairs
  • Replacement of the stage curtain, sound system and lighting systems (stage and general)
  • Replacement of HVAC system
  • Addition of a sprinkler system
  • Roof and exterior repairs
  • Remodel of some classroom space for drama set and costume storage
  • Technology upgrades including audio/visual, speaker, and wireless network systems

Want to learn more about the Bond Task Force process? Click here.