Oct. 9, 2006

HLWW remodeling bids come in higher than expected

By Jenni Sebora

Faced with bids approximately 10 percent more than expected for remodeling and additions to Humphrey and Winsted Elementary Schools, the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board postponed further action on bids until Wednesday, Oct. 11 so that it can consider its options in light of these higher projection costs.

At the HLWW school board meeting last Monday evening, SGN architects Jim Wilson and Gary Nyberg presented the bids for the elementary schools’ remodeling and addition projects.

There were seven total contractors who bid, which Wilson noted is considered good coverage.

All of the bids were relatively close with the lowest bidder for both elementary schools being Ebert Construction, at a combined bid for both school projects of $6,564,000. Brad Averill and Josh Nichols from Ebert Construction were also present at the meeting.

This bid along with a contingency allowance and other expenses would put the total cost of the project at $7,342,790, a little over 613,000 over what SGN had projected. Wilson noted that SGN feels the bids are good and fair bids and recommends at this point not rejecting the bids.

The board expressed concern and questioned why the bids came in higher than projected.

“The voters deserve to know what has been impacted to have costs come up 10 percent and what will be impacted by trying to lower the costs,” board member Al Doering noted.

Nyberg noted that some of the increase may be due to petroleum costs. Wilson also added that SGN as the architects don’t necessarily itemize each area when projecting a project cost. Square footage of the project is used primarily to determine the cost projection.

After a lengthy discussion, the decision was made that SGN and the building committee will meet today, Mon. Oct. 9 to discuss areas of possible cost reductions to get closer to the projection and to review how SGN came up with its projected amount for the elementary projects.

The committee will present this information and its recommendations at a school board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.

Both SGN and the board stressed that they are working against a timeline and weather elements. Regarding the bids presented, the board legally has 30 days to issue intent to proceed, until Oct. 26.

Bids for the new high school will open on Oct. 19, and the board may make a decision on those bids at the Oct. 23 board meeting. The board also discussed the option of waiting until the high school bids come in to see if they come in at lower, higher or at the projected bid as well. This would allow the board to make decisions regarding the elementary bids based on all of the bid information, but it would delay construction on the elementary schools.

The board will meet this Wednesday to make further decisions regarding the elementary bids.

Board decides on web site option

After months of discussion regarding the district’s web site, the board unanimously approved to use TIES for the district’s web site option.

The web site committee met recently and reviewed five web site proposals. The committee presented the board with two of those proposals to review, TIES and CMERDC.

TIES representative Greg Bartley presented the board with a 15-minute demo regarding the TIES web site option. Cost to the district would be $340 per year because HLWW is a member. This cost includes initial set-up, initial training, and other advanced training is offered through regular TIES classes.

Bartley noted with the TIES option, the district’s current web address can be kept and the high school class can still be involved with the web site. Bartley also noted that it has easy individual update features and is user-friendly.

Other Minnesota school districts currently using the TIES web site option include Minneapolis, St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Stillwater and Edina.

CMERDC’s cost to the district would be $600 to the district. CMERDC was not present at the meeting and the committee had not heard back from them.

The board unanimously decided that TIES is a good solution and approved the option.

Odds and ends

In other matters, the board:

•approved the recommendation from building and grounds supervisor Steve Strandquist that HLWW agriculture instructor James Weninger and his classes remodel the storage sheds at Humphrey Elementary at a cost of $4,795 for one shed with a $750 donation to the program for the labor.

• noted that this option is cheaper than hiring someone from the outside to completely build new, and has educational benefits for the students that would be completing the remodeling project.

• heard from Superintendent George Ladd noted that money from the roof repair budget could be shifted to the capital budget to complete this project.

• set Nov. 20 at noon as the deadline for applications for the school board vacancy and Dec. 5 at approximately 7:15 p.m., after the truth in taxation meeting, for the interview process.

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 7 p.m., HS media center – School board meeting

Mon., Oct. 23, 7 p.m., HS media center – School board meeting

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