By TRAVIS MORSE firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — A target date of Jan. 6, 2014, has been set for ground-breaking on the new Mt. Vernon Township High School.
Bid documents for the new school's construction were made available for public viewing starting Nov. 5.
A total of 25 construction projects are being bid out in this phase and all bids must be received by Dec. 5.
Chief Architect Greg Brown said Tuesday it's natural for school officials to feel nervous as the bid return date draws near. However, 95 percent of the time the bid process goes smoothly, he said.
“It's a commodity process, wherever the market is at that point,” Brown said. “The thing that we're looking for is getting good bid coverage. … Is it nerve-wracking? Yes. Has there ever been one that (wasn't) nerve-wracking? No.”
Brown and several key officials with FGM Architects and McCarthy were on hand to answer questions Tuesday at a meeting of the MVTHS Board of Education's Building Committee.
Much of the meeting was spent discussing the 25 construction projects or “packages” currently being bid.
So far, 55 contractors have picked up bid documents to determine whether they will submit a bid for some portion of the construction.
Even so, project officials expect many more people to acquire the documents after the pre-bid meeting at 2 p.m. today at the MVTHS auditorium.
As part of this meeting, contractors will have a chance to ask questions and “find out what the project's all about,” said Kevin Meyer, project manager with FGM Architects.
The goal is for the MVTHS Board to award bids for the six to seven “critical” contractors at their Dec. 16 meeting. This includes contractors for steel work, excavation, concrete work, plumbing and more.
Then, in mid-January, the board would award bids for the 18 or so remaining contractors.
The 25 construction projects make up roughly $57 million of the $72.8 million new high school.
Later next year, additional parts of the project, such as furniture and audio-visual equipment, will be bid out.
Superintendent Michael Smith said Tuesday's meeting served an important purpose in giving school board members an update on the bidding status.
“We're just excited about the process and where we're at, that we shared this evening, and look forward to answering any questions from contractors over the next three weeks or so and getting the bids in on Dec. 5,” Smith said.
A portion of Tuesday's meeting was also used to examine the layout of the new campus using a computerized model.