'Lease-leaseback' opens new avenues for school projects

Arrangement can help save time and dollars, encourage collaboration

[caption id="attachment_34879" align="alignright" width="363" caption="The $7 million, 45,000-square-foot multipurpose building at Ross School is being constructed via a lease-leaseback deal. (Wright Contracting photo)"][/caption]

ROSS -- The general contractor for the $7.26 million Ross School gymnasium project will continue to lease back to school district the nearly half-done structure until the doors open to students. And Northern California districts increasingly are employing this somewhat complex lease-leaseback arrangement.

Advocates of that contractual arrangement say it allows school district project representatives to collaborate more closely with architects and general contractors earlier in the project to find solutions that lower costs and speed construction, encourage more use of local contractors and reward companies with good reputations.

[caption id="attachment_34880" align="alignleft" width="360" caption="Interior of the gymnasium (Wright Contracting photo)"][/caption]

Lease-leaseback arrangements, like the one between the Ross School district board and "developer-contractor" Wright Contracting of Santa Rosa, are being used more to allow districts flexibility compared with conventional competitive bidding rather than as an alternative to voter-approved bond financing, according to Tom Duffy, a legislative consultant for Sacramento-based Coalition for Adequate School Housing.

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