District works with vague offices, costs

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The appraised value of the current district offices cannot be verified.

By Zachary-Taylor Wright

zwright9@student.alamo.edu

The Alamo Community College District broke ground on a new $55 million district support office Jan. 20 at 2222 N. Alamo, but will not explain the construction costs.

John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities operation and construction management, said the $55 million budgeted for the district support office consists of $45 million allocated to construction and $10 million allocated to furnishings, fixtures, equipment, moving costs and architect expenses and other fees.

Strybos said he cannot provide an itemized breakdown for the cost of construction nor the $10 million because it is a “moving target.”

In the recommended projects of the capital improvement program trustees approved in January for a May 6 election, the largest sum of money allocated to one of the five district colleges was $30 million to St. Philip’s College’s new culinary arts facility.

Similar in scale to the district support office, Tobin Lofts, at 1415 N. Main Ave. is approximately twice the size of the proposed district support office and cost about a third the price.

NRP Group managed the construction of Tobin Lofts.

Laura Balli, senior construction coordinator for NRP Group, said the gross square footage of the lofts is 315,000 and the final cost of construction was $18.951 million.

The district support office will cost nearly twice the amount of the culinary arts facility and more then five times the amount allocated for replacing St. Philip’s College’s Bowden Building.

To repay the $55 million in bonds allocated to developing the new district support office, Strybos said the other district offices — 201 W. Sheridan St., 7980 Pat Booker Road and 811 W. Houston St. — will be sold.

According to a July 16 presentation for a Citizens Advisory Committee discussing the district support office options, the Sheridan Street property was appraised at $2.4 million, the Pat Booker Road property was appraised at $9.6 million and the West Houston Street property was appraised at $2.7 million.

According to the presentation, renovating the current district offices would cost $46.9 million and the district could have sold the Playland Park property for $12 million, leaving a $34.9 million actual cost.

By renderings from Strybos, the building will be 156,237 square feet.

Strybos also called Chancellor Bruce Leslie’s office within the three-story building a “moving target.” See the architectural renderings on www.theranger.org.

According to the district website, the district support office will house 465 district employees; however, Strybos said some district employees will not be housed at the support office because they have offices at a college.

Strybos said he is not required to release the name of the appraisal company, saying he does not wish to release the name to The Ranger at this time.

In an interview Jan. 10, Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said the liquidation of the current district buildings for $20 million could reduce the actual cost to approximately $40 million. Snyder said $40 million is reasonable for housing 500 people.

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