Mt. Vernon Register-News

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December 17, 2013

Some new school bids too high

MT. VERNON — Four of the construction projects for the new proposed Mt. Vernon Township High School drew bids that were considerably higher than initial estimates.

Last week, bids were received and opened for roughly 25 construction projects or “work categories” being bid out for the new school.

The high bids in question were for masonry, metals, plaster and general trades.

Chief Architect Greg Brown said the bids have resulted in the overall project budget being 9 to 10 percent higher than what was hoped.

At this time, consultants are meeting with contractors to develop potential cost-saving measures, Brown said. It’s also possible some of the projects could be rebid.

“What we’re doing is trying to find the best bang for the buck, so to speak,” Brown said.

The new school project was discussed at Monday night’s meeting of the MVTHS Board of Education.

Representatives of FGM Architects and the McCarthy firm were in attendance to provide the board with an update on the bidding process.

Consultants said the masonry bids, in particular, were much higher than what was budgeted for.

Two bids were submitted for masonry. Heitkamp Masonry Inc. offered a bid of $8,955,000 and Diecker-Terry Masonry Inc. had a bid of $9,361,250.

Board members and consultants spoke of several possibilities for how to deal with the cost overrun.

Rebidding some of the problematic work categories is one option. However, some board members worried this could delay the overall project.

“That’s always a last resort,” Superintendent Michael Smith said of rebidding. “(But) that’s always a possibility the board may consider.”

Another possible option is to award bids for some of the more critical work now — such as for earthwork and concrete — and then rebid other projects later, Brown said.

As of now, district consultants are in the process of interviewing contractors who submitted bids for critical projects.

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