COLUMBIA — A day after the Columbia School Board reviewed a tentative list of recommended bids for construction of a new high school, building managers continued to tweak it, trying to bring down the cost.
The bid list draft comes from construction manager JE Dunn, which will recommend which companies should get what assignments in building the high school in northeast Columbia.
JE Dunn is reviewing the 234 bids made by contractors, with plans to present final recommendations to the School Board on Aug. 3.
The overall project is projected to be $7.8 million over its $75 million budget. The bids are only a part of the project. Right now, the recommended bids are estimated to be about $1.65 million over budget — from $67.3 million to almost $69 million.
The draft of the recommended bid list can be found here and is part of bigger document that can be found on the district website.
The building managers — including JE Dunn, DLR Group and Charles Oestreich, director of building services for the district — continue to investigate ways to cut the cost.
On Friday, Oestreich called the draft bid list “a living document,” meaning that it has been adjusted even since the board meeting.
One way the bids might change is to alter the supplies being used in the construction. Making aesthetic changes, such as using a different size of concrete block or substituting cloth chairs for leather chairs, helps to reduce costs "without impacting the overall finished product," Oestreich said.
Another way to change the bids is to consider the allowances built into each package, he explained. Allowances are finances to cover unforeseen problems that might arise during the construction process, such as a storm or the discovery of a sinkhole.
“You’ve really got to dig down deep into those numbers," Oestreich said
The project managers will evaluate which allowances to keep and which ones might not be needed, he said.
With these various cost-reducing measures in mind, Oestreich is hopeful that the budget can be maintained.
“It is anticipated that we will be taking recommendations to the board that would have us back within the program budget for this project,” he said.