Mt. Vernon Register-News

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February 4, 2014

Rebidding of new high school carries risk

By TRAVIS MORSE

travis.morse@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — Rebidding construction for the new proposed Mt. Vernon Township High School carries the risk of receiving even higher bids this time around, due to potentially rising labor and material costs.

Even so, MVTHS officials say they are developing strategies to help make the bidders more comfortable so they submit lower estimates.

Some of these strategies include changing how the bids are structured, expanding the bidding field, and altering the bidding and construction timelines to give contractors more time to work on the project.

“There’s obviously some risk with (rebidding),” said Superintendent Michael Smith. “But in the interest of the taxpayers and the project as a whole, we have no choice but to rebid those. We’re looking at a number of things to minimize any risk.”

Chris Nisbet, project director for the McCarthy consulting firm, said the bid documents this time will be structured so that more modestly-sized contractors can submit estimates.

Each construction work category, he said, will be divided up into several smaller projects that can be bid on. That way, both small and large firms will have the chance to participate, Nisbet said.

“If we can make it more appealing to a smaller contractor, that’s what we want to do also,” Nisbet said.

Local business owner Dan Black said getting higher bids during rebidding is a real possibility.

Black, owner of Black & Sons Construction in Mt. Vernon, has served as an unofficial advisor to the MVTHS Board of Education regarding the new school project.

He has attended many of the board’s meetings and has offered advice on how to proceed.

“I’m trying to be a constructive voice and a helpful voice,” said Black, who is also a member of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’s Past President’s Council.

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