Update on Providence Middle renovation

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July 26 was the deadline for the second round of construction bids for the renovation of Providence Middle School. The latest bid came in $2.07 million higher than anticipated, significantly less than the first bid which came in $5.6 million higher than anticipated. The renovation of Providence Middle, which was built in 1968 and last altered in 1987, is part of the bond referendum approved by voters in 2013.

“Moving forward, we need to do a better job estimating the cost of construction projects,” Superintendent James F. Lane.

Branch Construction submitted the winning bid of $22.6 million for the Providence Middle project. Three companies submitted bids in both rounds of bidding; only one company submitted a bid during both rounds of bidding.

The school division believes that the reduction in the number of phases by 50 percent, the availability of electronic drawings and the use of phase completion dates and only one substantial completion date probably reduced markups for the “aggravation factor” and allowed bidders to get better quotes from subcontractors. It is significant that, the second time around, all three bidders were within $200,000 of each other; the first- and second-lowest bidders were within $40,000 of each other. This says that everyone who was interested in this project sharpened their pencils and came in with competitive bids.

“The School Board has several options to bridge the gap between projected costs and bids,” Dr. Lane said. “These options have been discussed at several meetings, including the use of funds not expended during the 2015-16 school year, which is likely to be my recommendation. It is the School Board’s responsibility to approve all construction contract awards. The memo to award the contract will be presented at the School Board’s Aug. 8 meeting. Delaying consideration to the board’s next meeting on Aug. 23 would mean delaying the Providence Middle project.”