Nearly $6 million in bids were approved by the Warren County Board of Education on Thursday for three building projects which came more than $1 million over original estimates.
Sain Construction of Manchester was the big winner as it was the low and winning bidder for both the Bobby Ray gymnasium and Warren County High School field house jobs. The largest project of the three, Irving College School, was won by low bidder Romach Construction of Franklin.
The grand total of funding approved by the School Board for the three projects Thursday night was $5.93 million. The county’s Financial Management Committee met Friday and voted to approve the lowest bidder on each project.
Bobby Ray was budged for $800,000 but came in at a low bid of $1,001,700. Warren County High School was budgeted at $1.1 million but came in at $1.32 million. Irving College was budgeted for $3 million but came in at $3.58 million.
In the case of the Bobby Ray gym, the question of bleachers remains in limbo as the School Board tries to decide whether it would be better to refurbish the old bleachers or put in new ones to complement the new floor and surroundings.
“I think we will end up going with new bleachers,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox, noting they need to explore the matter more before committing one way or another.
Either way, Cox pointed out the bleachers will have to be made ADA compliant to allow handicapped access so even a refurbishing would cost around $31,000. The amount has been subtracted from the Bobby Ray upgrade amount and will have to be added back later.
Derek Clemow of Upland Design Group, who is architect for the three projects, said the bleachers are in surprisingly good shape and could be re-tooled and put back in, but noted that since they are wooded they have the possibility of splintering at some point.
The Bobby Ray project is expected to begin within a week since school officials are hoping to do much of the job while school is out for summer. However, the full upgrade is expected to stretch through the coming year in one way or another.
The WCHS wellness facility was approved in its entirety. Concerns at that construction site will have to do with the nearly 70 parking spaces that will be lost in an already cramped parking lot.
The big project of the three, Irving College School, was won by low bidder Romach Construction of Franklin. Its low bid was about a half-million dollars higher than the original $3 million estimate. The school system will use its fund balance this year and next year to cover the additional cost of the three projects.
The Irving College overrun did not come as a surprise despite Upland’s attempt to keep the budget within original parameters when bidding the projects. It was pointed out many of the subcontractors being used on the projects are local or from the Midstate.