Fulton Schools is proposing a smaller building for the new Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs after revealing the current design would go more than $10 million dollars over the budget.

The new design, if approved, still would go an estimated $3.8 million over budget rather than $14.6 million for the current design. The approved budget for the entire project is $102.9 million.

The new plan would build a smaller school and renovate rather than replace the existing auditorium, according to a summary of the proposal. It is not clear how much smaller the school would be.

A Fulton County School System presentation shows the proposed plan to build a smaller school building and renovate the existing auditorium at Riverwood International Charter School to reduce the costs. 

“The recent bid for the construction of the remaining Riverwood HS Replacement School demonstrated that the project continues to be excessively expensive due to market conditions, escalation, enabling, and is over budget,” the summary said. The project is funded through a special purpose local option tax.

The school, located at 5900 Raider Drive, is being built in seven phases. Phases 3 through 7 are the ones that would be addressed with the change. The board previously had to approve a $5 million increase for the second phase in 2018. Several board members criticized the district at the time for letting the project go so far over budget.

Phases 3-7 are all being bid at the same time in a way that locks in the price so it does not continue to increase like Phase 2 did, District Chief Operating Officer Patrick Burke previously said.

Burke said at the time of the Phase 2 budget increase that the higher costs were being caused by the complicated nature of building the project in seven construction phases and how the project is being funded. Increased material prices and tariffs were also driving the increases, Burke said.

Moving the building farther from I-285 is listed as an “advantage” in a presentation on the agenda for the Board of Education’s Feb. 12 non-voting work session. Riverwood is one of several Sandy Springs schools that the Georgia Department of Transportation expects to be affected by its I-285 toll lanes project.

The proposal will be discussed at a Board of Education work session Feb. 12 at the district’s North Learning Center, 450 Northridge Parkway in Sandy Springs. The review of the agenda is expected to begin at 4:30 p.m.