Mt. Vernon Register-News

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February 11, 2014

Theater cut from base bid for new high school

MT. VERNON — The Mt. Vernon Township High School Board of Education Monday approved cutting the theater and the football field from the base bid amount for the new school’s construction.

However, both items have been designated as alternates and will be returned to the new school plans if sufficient funding is available after rebidding.

These reductions and others have brought the base bid amount to roughly $2.5 million under-budget. The project’s total budget is now estimated at around $70.2 million, instead of $72.8 million.

This gives the district some breathing room when it comes time for rebidding, said Superintendent Michael Smith.

“We’re trying to minimize the risk of the rebidding process, given a longer time frame,” Smith said. “We’re hopeful then moving forward that we’ll be able to not only deliver on the base bid but portions of the alternates also.”

The MVTHS Board approved the final scope changes for the new school at a special meeting Monday night.

Representatives of FGM Architects and McCarthy were on hand to present a revised version of the cost reductions for the project, which eliminate the theater and football field from the base bid.

Chris Nisbet, project director for McCarthy, explained that making these cuts is regrettable, but that it’s important for the project to be under-budget in preparation for rebidding.

“We’re trying to find the path to be able to start writing contracts and taking bids,” Nisbet said. “And that’s what this is all based on. I don’t think it’s anybody’s best choice, but it is the path forward.”

What the district wants to avoid is a repeat of what happened during the initial bidding in December, when the bids came in at more than $6 million over-budget, school officials said.

MVTHS Board member Ben Mitchell said if the rebidding comes in significantly over-budget, too, it would likely jeopardize the state funding for the project.

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