Columbia School Board approves contracting bids for new high school

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 | 10:10 p.m. CDT; updated 10:09 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 4, 2010

COLUMBIA – Columbia’s new high school is no longer $7.8 million over budget, but is now under budget.

The estimated cost is now $79,211 under the $75 million budget after the Columbia School Board voted on cost reductions and bid packages recommended by project manager JE Dunn at a meeting Tuesday in the Administration Building.


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JE Dunn representatives Lee Moore and Steve Golubski and district director of building services Charlie Oestreich spoke to the Board about their suggestions for contractors for each bid package and to review money-saving suggestions.

Cost-cutting changes include using different materials for some floors and ceiling, as well as changing turf and asphalt compositions.

Other reductions are projects that the Board could open for rebid later if funds become available. Prioritized items that could be added later include tennis courts, a softball field and restroom, culinary arts kitchen equipment, additional theater rigging and more bleachers.

Altogether, the reductions saved over $5 million, according to JE Dunn’s estimates.

The Board unanimously approved the contractors recommended for 39 packages based on bids submitted in late June. It also approved two packages that were reissued for bidding after substantial material changes were made to save money.

Bids for those two packages – roofing and food service equipment – were received earlier Tuesday by JE Dunn. Their approval brought the total number of accepted packages to 41.

Bids were received from companies in eight states and Canada.

According to JE Dunn, 25 percent of the project’s value will go toward local firms.

  • 19 percent  ($11 million) will go to companies in Columbia
  • 6 percent  ($3 million) will go to companies in Boonville

When companies that will subcontract to Columbia-based firms are taken into account, JE Dunn estimates 35 percent of the project’s budget will go toward firms and material suppliers based in the local area.

The district also saved approximately $900,000 in interest when the School Board approved the sale of general obligation bonds at its June 15 meeting. This money will now go toward the new high school project.

The district has $138 million budgeted for districtwide projects from two bond issues approved by voters in April 2010 and 2007. After the board’s decisions Tuesday to accept the recommended contractors and postpone several projects, the district is about $1.4 million under that budget, Oestreich said.

The School Board announced it will hold a special session at 7:30 a.m., Aug. 26 for its annual tax levy hearing.

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Michael Scott August 4, 2010 | 7:45 a.m.

What a joke. We spend Columbia tax payer money to hire a constrution firm from out of town with the empty promise that it would save money and local companies would still be heavily involved in construction.

Instead, JE Dunn makes the bidding so complex that in a down economy prices come in well above budget and those of us that pay taxes should be happy with less than 20% of the project awarded to local companies. Why does our school district continue to throw our money away with out of town contractors?

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