During their last meeting of the year Tuesday evening, the USD 234 school board received a report on the bids received for the bond project and approved the bids selected, allowing them to take a step closer to construction.
In recent weeks, working in conjunction with Nabholz Construction and Hollis and Miller, the school district accepted more than 300 bids from more than 100 entities, some local businesses and others from out of town and state. Since accepting them, Superintendent Bob Beckham said they carefully scrutinized each bid, looking for the best options.
“We were very pleased with the outpouring of bids,” Steve Bennett of Nabholtz said, saying it was likely the most they had received for a specific project. “There’s been a lot of dialogue behind the scenes to bring you the best package.”
Bennett said they needed approval from the board so they could begin discussing contracts with the bidders selected so they can then move forward with construction, first at the high school and Winfield Scott and then moving on to other areas.
Packages bid on in the overall project included building and pre-cast concrete, carpentry, steel metal panels, door frames and hardware, glass and glazing, framing and drywall, utilities, paving and other areas.
The initial bids for the projects added up to more than $24.7 million. Bennett said bids were about five percent above budget but they have negotiated that down to about one or two percent over, and he believes they could get that even lower until they are within budget parameters.
“I know you all are anxious and we’re anxious to get started,” Bennett said, adding that finalizing the contracts will take a couple weeks, but some drawings and planning can be done simultaneously.
With contracts completed, Bennett said they could begin moving dirt in the next two weeks, preparing for laying concrete.
“I’m looking forward to seeing some dirt move,” school board member Janette Braun said, while other members said they look forward to physical evidence that work is being done after receiving numerous questions from members of the community wanting to know why work is not being done.
While a couple months behind their initial, conservative timeline, Bennett said work will begin soon and, though the schedule will be tight, there is still a possibility they will complete work on time.
“Let’s build,” Beckham closed the discussion with as the present board members approved the bids.