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BEA project bids come in too high

By Staff | Apr 8, 2012

An original $5 million project which is essential the school completes has bids coming in a couple million dollars too high, making the Blue Earth Area school board re-evaluate its approach.

The BEA board held a work session on Monday, April 3 to discuss the heat and ventilation systems at the elementary/middle school building.

The board went over preliminary budgets and enrollment projections. However, the main discussion revolved around the mechanical improvements.

Ryan Hoffman, ICS?program manager, attended the meeting to discuss this project with the board.

ICS?thinks the school board should wait and re-bid in a few months to aim for a lower cost that should fit within their original budget.

“Our goal is to get the cost back down to that $5.5 million range,”?Hoffman says.

If the board went with he current bids, the cost would be in the neighborhood of $7 million.

This group has worked on several projects similar to the one in the works at the BEA schools.

“We projected a cost of $25 per square foot,”?Hoffman explained.

The company figures the projected cost by looking at similar projects done in other areas that are comparable to BEA school.

ICS then went on to gather bids on the project.

“The bids all came back high on these,”?superintendent Dale Brandsoy says.

Hoffman explained to the board that there were very few contractors interested in the project.

The first walk-through for contractors at the school brought in nine people.

“With so little interest at the first walk-through, we set up a second one,”?Hoffman says.

The second walk-through didn’t bring any contractors in. This is why the bids came back much higher than expected.

“This is a two summer project. Most contractors are looking at one summer projects,”?Hoffman says.

Hoffman thought contractors may be scared off by the commitment of their crew to a two year project.

The time of year the project was proposed to contractors was also a factor.

“Timing is critical when booking this project,”?Hoffman says.

A lot of contractors and subcontractors are already booked for summer at this point.

The next step would be for the school board to decide which road they want to take now.

They can either go forward with the information they have been presented with or can reject the bids and rebid later.

Since this was just a work session for the board, no formal decisions were made.

ICS suggests the board formally rejects the current bids, comes up with a new strategy and rebid in the fall.

“Our goal is to give you a successful project,”?Hoffman says. “We need to ensure we have a project that is feasible.”