Friday, May 27, 2011

Cost to Raze or Maintain the Former Powderhouse School Building

We had a resident request for information on what it would cost to raze the Powderhouse School building and also what it currently costs for annual upkeep of the building. The current estimate for the cost for demolition of the former school building is $960,000. Currently, upkeep of the building is estimated at $20,000 annually. Details of before-closure and after-closure upkeep costs are below.

The City has been conducting an intensive community input process with a focus group composed of more than 70 residents to determine future use of this property. Most recently, the focus group met in April to explore possible scenarios for the site using 3D models and financial models to determine feasibility. For more on the process, please see the City website here:,

2004 Study: $400,000 (utilities only)

In 2003, City staff estimated the utility costs of the school prior to its closing at $400,000. At the time of the estimate, 300 students were still using the facility (although it was designed for a capacity of 500 students). These findings were published in the 2004 “Final Report of the Municipal Property Review Committee”.

2007 Study: $180,000/year (utilities only)
City staff estimated utility costs at the school in 2006, when the building was still being partially used. The cost estimate was $180,000/year. These findings were published in the 2007 “Municipal Property Comprehensive Consolidation Plan”.

2011 Estimate: $20,000/year (utilities and insurance)
City staff have prepared updated estimates of the current operating costs of the vacant building. Electric billings for 2010 included roughly $800 for lighting and $1,000 for heating. The building’s heating system also uses some natural gas; meter readings from 2008-2010 indicate an annual average of $90. Alarm systems and maintenance are projected at $6,600, based on the FY2011 City Budget. Building insurance premiums are estimated at $11,600, based on the City’s FY2011 policy.

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