BuildingTeam Construction Forecast

Vocational Schools Carry the Highest Construction Costs among K-12 Schools

Vocational Schools are the Priciest
The accompanying table and charts show dollar-per-square-foot construction costs and year-over-year percentage changes for the four school categories below the university and college level, and for 25 major cities throughout the United States.

Construction Costs
Construction Costs
Construction Costs

According to RSMeans, vocational schools generally carry the highest dollar-per-square-foot construction costs, followed by junior high schools, high schools and, finally, elementary schools. These estimates have been made as of August 2007.

But Elementary Schools have Largest Year-over-year Cost Increase
However, the order changes when the latest year-over-year cost increase is examined. In a ranking of the 25 cities shown in the table, according to the year-over-year increase in construction costs, New York is exactly in the middle (i.e., in 13th position). Therefore, for the purpose of comparing the relative increases in costs between the four school categories, New York is taken as the bellwether city.

In New York, the cost of building an elementary school (+5.9%) has gone up the fastest (August 2007 versus August 2006), followed by a junior high school (+4.9%), a vocational school (+3.9%) and a high school (+3.3%). The same hierarchy of relative cost increases is apparent in the other cities listed.

Miami’s Costs have Increased the Most, Followed by St. Louis
In a ranking of year-over-year cost increases among the 25 cities, Miami is the clear frontrunner, ranging from +6.2% for a high school to +9.0% for an elementary school. St. Louis has also had significant year-over-year construction cost increases. Nearby Kansas City, on the other hand, ranks at the bottom of the list for construction cost increases, even lower than Detroit, which has been mired in auto sector problems.

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