The Anacortes School Board approved a final change order increasing the cost of the Anacortes High School project at its meeting Aug. 27.

The increase is part of the completion agreement between the School District and the FORMA Construction, which served as general contractor on the project.

The agreement puts the maximum payment to FORMA at just over $63 million, roughly $9 million more than planned at the beginning of the multiyear project.

Most of the change orders and increased costs came from delays on the third phase of the project, which renovated the portion of the school that houses Brodniak Hall, the gyms and the career and technical classrooms. Delays came in the form of asbestos and pieces of old buildings buried underneath the one crews were knocking down, as well as weather-related issues and a discrepancy between the old school’s plans and what was actually in place.

That phase was expected to be finished in early spring 2019, but hit several major delays. Students were able to start using the new spaces in February of this year, a month before the school shut down due to COVID-19.

The project is funded by a bond for about $87 million, plus roughly $6 million more in state matching funds and private donations, according to the district.

The district and FORMA also put a contingency fund in place when the project started.

Although the completion agreement means the project is mostly done, there is one outstanding issue facing both FORMA and the School District.

Earlier this year, subcontractor Sturgeon Electric made what is called a request for equitable adjustment against the project’s general contractor, FORMA Construction, and, by proxy, the district.

The subcontractor seeks $3 million, citing a loss of revenue due to construction delays.

That likely will not be settled until early next year, Project Manager Marc Estvold said at the school board meeting. FORMA and the district are jointly hiring a forensic accountant to investigate Sturgeon Electric’s claims.

If other claims come up from subcontractors, it will be up to FORMA to resolve the issue, according to the project completion agreement.

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