But delays and cost overruns have been frequent, after teams used 23-year-old building drawings to start the work, rather than verifying details first. Dickstein said the construction process has included 145 “requests for information” on changes. The cost of the move across Ludlow Street may surpass $4 million.
Dickstein said the board likely will be asked to approve a contract next month for the last big step — paving and creating controlled access to a parking lot for employees across Fifth Street behind Spaghetti Warehouse.
School board President Mohamed Al-Hamdani raised concerns about the ability to socially distance employees in the new, smaller space. Dickstein said the board could discuss how to do the move in phases “so we don’t have people working on top of each other.”
Once the move is complete, the next question is what will happen to the 115 S. Ludlow headquarters. DPS leaders have had discussions of selling or leasing it, especially given the ongoing development of the Arcade complex, just steps away across the Fourth and Ludlow intersection.
But Al-Hamdani cautioned this week that DPS still owes a large debt on the existing headquarters, calling the $15.5 million purchase price “obscene.” The Montgomery County Auditor valued the site at $5.75 million last year.
“If those (former) board members are watching this, they’re probably upset with me saying it was an obscene amount of money, but it was an obscene amount of money for that board to spend,” Al-Hamdani said. “We are way underwater when it comes to paying off this building.”
Al-Hamdani said the board would talk to DPS’ treasurer and another financial consultant about possible next steps.