Archive for Thursday, August 24, 2006

Board awards building contract

McPherson Contractors to build district’s new school, auditorium

August 24, 2006

The Lansing school district has moved another step closer to building a new elementary school and high school auditorium.

In a special meeting Tuesday, the Lansing School Board voted 5-0 to award the construction contract for the projects to McPherson Contractors. Board members Robert Nicholas and Craig Gephart were absent.

Voters approved $23.6 million in bonds for the projects in April 2005. Bond supporters and board members originally expected the projects to be finished by August 2007.

Bill Sims, vice president of McPherson Contractors, told the board his company was eager to begin the project as soon as possible with completion by December 2007 or January 2008.

Sims said the bond and insurance paperwork would take between seven and 10 days.

"Then we can start moving dirt right away," Sims said.

He said he would consult with the district to develop a schedule and that he would be willing to start the project before a ceremonial groundbreaking if the district approved.

Work at the two sites - on district-owned property on West Mary Street and at the high school - will occur simultaneously.

Four combined construction bids were submitted for the projects, ranging from $23.15 million to $25.86 million. Topeka-based McPherson Contractors submitted the lowest bid.

The board approved the construction contract with McPherson Contractors in the amount of $23,114,300. Value engineering, or optional items that were declined, reduced the approved bid.

Superintendent Randal Bagby told the board he was pleased with the number and later made the recommendation to award the contract to McPherson Contractors.

"Through the process, we never sacrificed a square foot of space for the kids," Bagby said.

Bagby told the board that special requests by teachers and administrators would be preserved. They include storage, tackable pinwalls, display cases, lockers for grades three through five and exterior windows in every classroom at the elementary school.

Features that will be granted at the high school's 900-seat auditorium include a fly gallery - a raised platform from which scenery lines are changed - and upper-level storage.

Board member Richard Whitlow asked if the bid would still procure the items promised during the bond campaign.

"Everything we said we would do during the bond campaign, we're going to do," Bagby said.

Estimates for the school and auditorium, including miscellaneous expenses, architect and engineering fees and a $500,000 contingency fund total $25,288,300. Costs totaling $1,688,300 in excess of the voter-approved amount will be paid with interest proceeds from the bonds and capital outlay funds, Bagby said.

Sims said McPherson Contractors recently completed a large schools project for the Atchison school district that included middle school renovations, a high school addition and a sports complex addition.

He said McPherson Contractors was looking forward to working in Lansing again. The company completed an addition at Lansing High School in the 90s.

"We are excited to get started, and we're looking forward to being part of the community for the next couple of years," Sims said.

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