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ARMSTRONG: High school bids come in under budget

by HEATHER ROTH on March 01, 2013 10:50 AM

FORD CITY — Bids to construct a new junior-senior high school in the Armstrong School District came in significantly less than projected, putting the project nearly $3 million under budget.

Architects from L.R. Kimball told the board of school directors at a special meeting Thursday that the bids were nearly 4 percent under budget — after adding back in various features that had been eliminated previously when estimates showed it was trending over budget.

“That’s great news,” said Joe Close, the school board’s president. “It’s just a great end result. … It gives us a little bit of cushion.”

Brian Hayes, from L.R. Kimball, said 58 bids were received for the eight contracts. The architects selected the low bidders, each of whom had a list of proposed alternates to the contract (such as adding in a storage building or upgrading light fixtures for the main lobby). The board then voted Thursday to award contracts to those low bidders:

n Hudson Group Inc., general construction contract, $23,013,000 (including selected alternates)

n Independence Excavating Inc., site work construction contract, $6,988,000 (including selected alternates)

n Todd Devin Food Equipment Inc., food service equipment contract, $894,000

n Northeast Interior Systems, educational casework contract, $723,000

n Preferred Fire Protection, fire protection contract, $451,000

n East End Pluming & Mechanical Inc., plumbing construction contract, $2,551,000 (including selected alternates)

n Lugaila Mechanical Inc., HVAC construction contract, $5,106,500 (including selected alternates)

n Vern’s Electric Inc., electrical construction contract, $6,581,980

The total of all the contract bids is $46,308,580, nearly $3 million less than what had been budgeted.

Hayes said the alternates selected had been part of the original plans, but were cut when the construction management firm, Reynolds Construction, reported that the project was trending over budget. When the bids came in so much lower, some of those features were added back in.

“All good control on your part,” Hayes said. “You are under budget; there is nothing that we can see that will tip you over.”

And John Zenone, the school district’s director of business affairs, said that around $61 million remains of the roughly $80 million original bond. The difference has been spent on financing and upfront fees for project design and such.

“You’ll have money for this project,” he said.

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