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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Complex and Multi-Faceted Nature of School Construction Costs: Factors Affecting California. A Report to the American Institute of Architects California Council


Over the past ten years, public education construction has seen unprecedented growth and California is among the front runners driving this trend. Rising costs, however, are increasing rapidly, impacting school districts' ability to deliver the schools they are promising their constituents. This research report addresses the void in understanding school construction costs by addressing two key questions: What are the factors affecting school construction costs in California? In what ways do these factors compare nationally and in other states? We use interviews, focus groups, and policy and statistical analysis to compare California and seven comparison states.

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