Window project pricier than expected

For the second consecutive year, officials will seek Town Meeting approval to replace windows at North Intermediate School. The project, which will be paid for in part by the Massachusetts School Building Authority, was approved for local funding during Town Meeting last May. However, after a project manager and design team were hired, estimates for the work came in significantly higher than $804,640, the amount approved by voters, prompting the need for another Town Meeting vote. Overall, the project is expected to cost nearly $1.48 million. The original budget was based on a recently completed window project at the Shawsheen School, a building approximately the same size as North Intermediate and with the same amount of windows. The higher costs can be attributed to a number of factors, including skyrocketing costs in commercial construction and increased expenses for project management and design services, according to Michael Newhouse, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. If Town Meeting approves the project again this spring, taxpayers would have to shoulder roughly $740,000 of the cost, with the School Building Authority reimbursing the town for the balance. “In the end, the work needs to be done, and we are pleased to get MSBA reimbursement for approximately 50 percent of the cost,” Newhouse said in an e-mail to the Globe. “We also are pleased that we are positioned financially to be able to pay for the project, while some cities and towns have to forgo the reimbursement because of their own budget constraints.”