The Million Dollar Bridge

Bridge

click for larger image

During my short tenure as Superintendent of the Hastings Schools, I have heard it mentioned numerous times that the school district made a big mistake spending a million dollars to build a bridge in the high school. I traveled to the high school to examine this “million dollar bridge.” I thought, “There is no way this bridge/walkway could cost one million dollars. I called Wold architects and engineers to request if I could review numbers on the actual cost of the bridge. On October 20, 2003, I received a written response from Wold. A cost estimator, Constructive Ideas, estimated the following:

 

The walkway that connects the public entry with the academic portion of the building, an important circulation route, was designed to minimize columns underneath so as to not divide the commons space below.

 

 Bridge

click for larger image

 

 

Estimated Cost of Construction - $174,000

An optional design for the second floor walkway would be designed with precast plank and steel columns similar to the rest of the school’s floor structure. Both solutions require railings, lighting and gypsum board to cover the structural components. 

Estimated Cost of Construction - $136,000 

The difference in the two plans is $38,000. I am not going to argue that $38,000 is not a lot of money. However, it is not one million dollars! It is also important to remember that the walkway, with the bridge image, was an important feature that the planning committee felt would reflect a small piece of Hastings’ history. 

As you view the two different designed drawings, you will see that the columns for the walkway were also going to interfere with the flow of people in the commons area. The next time you hear someone mention that the school district wasted a million dollars on the bridge….help stop the rumor.