ARCHITECTS CORRECTING DOME ESTIMATE
June 16, 2000 11:00 pm

Architects made a major error during their analysis of the costs of constructing domes.

Dr. Paul Prevenas, superintendent of the Brookings-Harbor School District, acknowledged the error Thursday.

He said architects Richard Bryant and Harriet Cherry of Medford were revising their report, and will be appearing during Mondays meeting of the school board.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Azalea Middle School library.

The architects were engaged by the school district at a cost not to exceed $35,000 to make an objective analysis of the cost of domes and conventionally constructed buildings.

A citizens committee spent about a year developing a building program for the district. The committee recommended domes to house gymnasiums and cafeterias non-classroom buildings not needing windows.

The committee was given information that indicated the domes would be less expensive to construct than conventionally-built buildings. It asked the school board to hire an architectural firm to determine if this was a correct assumption, and to determine the differences in the costs.

During a public meeting Monday, the architects reported their findings. They said domes cost more to build, and have other disadvantages.

One of the key comparisons was between the Payson High School gym in Arizona, a dome, between a conventionally-built building. The architects said the Payson Gym was 60-feet high, and had a stem wall on which it was constructed.

Dr. Marian Boye, a member of the bond committee, heard the Monday night presentation, and noticed what she thought was a major error. She knew the Payson Gym had a facade in front of the building, and not a stem wall. Because of this error, she figured the cost of the Payson Gym would be at least 20 percent less than claimed by the architects.

The following day, Dr. Boye checked with a dome architect in Arizona, and confirmed her suspicions.

She brought the information to the attention of Dr. Prevenas, who notified the architects, who soon determined they had made an error. They said they were given inaccurate information by a Payson school official.

On Monday, the architects are expected to present corrected information. Also, they will be providing cost differences in dollar amounts. During their initial reports, they were providing a scale of numbers to indicate preferences. On one table, the differences were a scale of 10 to 1, while in another it was 5 to 1.

Despite the error, Dr. Prevenas defended the architects, and assured that they were objective in their consideration of the domes.

He said the architects were lenient in their consideration of some aspects of the dome construction. For example, there was no comparison made between site requirements for domes and conventional buildings. Because of the weight of the domes, they might require more site preparation. This would add to the costs, he said.

Also, he said, the mechanical systems for the domes would have to be located outside of the buildings. This would add to the expense. The mechanical systems could be inside a conventionally-built building, he said.

Dr. Prevenas said he was pleased with the amount of information the architects had compiled within a few short weeks.

The school board is expected to decide Monday on whether to use domes in a building program it will present to the voters during the November general election. After the board had made this decision, the architects will come up with three building program options based on costs. The school board will be expected to make a decision no later than August to put the program on the November ballot.

Voters have rejected two other proposals by two-to-one margins. The school board is expected to seek the passage of the bonds because the schools are overcrowded, and the buildings are old and worn out.