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School steel on budget

Town officials hope global deal has no effect on construction

April 01, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Although global steel prices are likely to jump by a third soon, there's likely to be a minimal effect on the already big-ticket school projects in our area.

Why? Because nearly all structural steel in the United States is recycled.

Even so, hearing about the hike makes locals a little wary.

"We're not even into the bid process, so we're vulnerable to any price changes," said Scott Lazo, chairman of the School Building Committee. He noted his committee doesn't yet know how much steel the school will actually need because it's too early in the design process.

Next door in Sturbridge, the Burgess School project is likely to go out to bid somewhat more quickly — in May or June.

According to that project's Chairman Angela Cheng-Cimini, hiking the price of steel could have "a tremendous impact" on the $43-million cost, so they hope to award a bid "before a hike goes into effect" — if one happens.

"One saving grace is that we're renovating a large part of the school, not building a lot new," she said, noting the project design has no wiggle room to change infrastructure components like steel.

"We'll hope for the best," she added.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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