By Tim Linscott
‘Measure twice, cut once’ is the mentality of the firm that is heading up the addition at Perkins County High School.
School board president Shawn Turner said at the May 12 board meeting the firm, BD Construction of Kearney, is taking time to line up each bid, crunch each number and prepare the information 100 percent before giving the board a final number on the project.
Turner called the process ‘tedious’ and that every single item of the bid analysis would be looked at, evaluated and compared before being released to the board by BD Construction.
A rough number of $7.4 million has been bantered about by school officials with a five percent contingency, totaling $7.7 million.
Qualified plumbing bids were not included in this rough number and that aspect had to be re-bid. The unqualified bid number was included with a 10 percent addition for estimate purposes.
These numbers, however, are not finalized and the board has moved to look at the project without adding new locker rooms. The estimated cost savings would be $500,000 to cut the locker rooms from the project, which could easily be added in later, according to PCS board member Jayson Bishop, who is on the grounds and building committee with Turner and Scott Osler.
“It would not be a lot of work or re-design or anything like that to drop the locker rooms off. By that same token it would not be a huge undertaking to come back later and add them back on if we decided we wanted them after all,” Bishop said.
The reason for the current price of the project, Bishop explained, was there are several large projects in the area, including the hospital in North Platte, that have contractors at a premium.
“If you were east of Grand Island, the project would likely be five to ten percent cheaper,” Turner said. “Western contractors are just busy.”
Chris Fryzek of Madrid was at the board meeting to discuss the project with the board and asked how much investigation the board did on whether local contractors were used by BD Construction.
Turner explained that research and investigation was done and his knowledge of the situation led him to believe BD Construction used local contractors whenever possible.
Local contractors, Mike Wendell, Jason Kirkpatrick and Jason Reese were on hand to explain this concern with the bidding process used by BD Construction. They felt it was rushed and unorthodox for what they have typically done in the past.
Board member Ryan Hendricks felt the communication between the board and BD Construction was not as solid as it should be for a project of this magnitude.
“I don’t feel we’re in the loop on any of this,” Hendricks said. “People come to me about this and I have no answers.”
“From October to one week ago, we have no new information to give,” Bishop said.
Turner said the thorough bid process takes time and the firm would like to have everything lined up properly before moving forward, thus reducing preparation time and allowing the process to begin uninterrupted.
“We can kick and scream all we want, I don’t think it will speed things up,” Turner said. “They will not give out numbers unless they are cast in iron. I know we’re all frustrated by this process.”
PCS superintendent William Hakonson explained that it might be prudent for the board to begin a calling process to BD Construction to explain the frustration locally.
“I’d call and tell them the natives are restless and we need information as soon as possible,” Hakonson said. “It wouldn’t hurt.”
BD Construction representatives told building and grounds committee members that estimates would be done by June at the latest, giving a few weeks of leeway before the deadline.
Turner said not one piece of dirt would be moved until the board felt the project was viable.
Hendricks summed up his feelings with, “We can’t go much further without numbers. We have a close number but not definite.”
The board will discuss the situation further at the June 9 monthly school board meeting.
(Editor’s Note: The board met on Tuesday, May 27 with final numbers on the project. Full information was not available as of press time. Look in next week’s Tribune-Sentinel for an update)