Dorchester District Two is moving forward with an emergency measure to start construction on two new elementary schools, despite bids coming in well over budget.
The district is canceling the sealed bidding received May 21. It will instead use construction manager-(CM)-at-risk format, and will use the two low bidders, McKnight Construction Company and EdCon, Inc., for the two elementary school projects.
CM-at-risk means the district will proceed to work with the same two low-bidding contractors using a contract that allows them to continue to work on the elementary schools’ land while being able to work with architects and the district on changes in design to bring the construction projects back into DD2’s budget.
By choosing this route the district should start site work “almost immediately” in compliance with a written statement from the school board, Chairwoman Gail Hughes said.
“Because we’re choosing the emergency method, which does not delay anything, we will begin everything at this point that we have permitting to be,” Hughes said, “so you should see shovels – that stuff should be happening.”
DD2 board members held a called meeting on June 12, which included an executive session during which board members met to receive a report from the administration and legal advice about the construction of elementary schools No. 1 and No. 3.
After the executive session board members delivered a public statement revealing Superintendent Joe Pye will be issuing a written determination under the district’s Procurement Code that:
• cancels the competitive sealed bidding received May 21;
• declares the existence of an emergency in order to give the district the best chance of opening the two new schools in the fall of 2015, because of severe overcrowding;
• selects the construction management at risk project delivery method for ES No. 1 and ES;
• authorizes the formation of contracts by direct negotiation with EdCon and McKnight, who were the pre-qualified low bidders, to reflect the cost reductions of changes in design to build 1,000-student schools within the district’s original cost estimates and to begin site work almost immediately.
Hughes read out the statement after council members returned from executive session. Hughes said the council felt an obligation to EdCon and McKnight because “they put so much work in.”
“They were our low bidders, and we feel working together we can get these schools back into budget,” Hughes said.
The district will have further announcements as soon as the contracts are executed.