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School Building Committee approves bidding plan

Date: 12/14/2009

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM - The Minnechaug School Building Committee was presented with three different options on how the new school project could be bid out at their Dec. 10 meeting, and the committee made a decision that evening on which option they deemed best.

Ray Kinghorn, a senior project manager with ARCADIS, the owner's project manager, presented the three options to the committee. The first option consisted of a large base bid, which would include construction of the new building, demolition of the old building and the balance of site work, along with "alternate 1," which would include the construction of the new pool and district administration facilities (which former superintendent Dr. Paul Gagliarducci refers to as "the annex).

Option two would consist of two separate bids, one for construction and one for demolition.

The third option would consist of a base bid, plus the aforementioned "alternate 1" in addition to "alternate 2," which would cover demolition only.

"There are some challenges to getting the work done," Kinghorn said. He noted the fact that the existing building blocks new parking lot and road work from being completed until it's razed and that there will only be about 40 feet between corners of the new and old buildings.

"We need to make sure there's no overlap," he explained. "There's going to be lots of juggling and manipulating on this site to make everybody happy."

He added that the intent right now is to start abatement of the cafeteria/media center area of the existing high school in summer 2012.

Each option had pros and cons. Kinghorn noted the pros to option one included a single source for liability, seamless documentation and no demobilization/remobilization costs. Pros for option two were that separate pricing meant costs would likely be more accurate and therefore, maybe more competitive. Kinghorn said option three was essentially the same as option one, except that alternate 2 could be rebid and could go to a separate contractor.

"What I like about [option] three is that we get to move the process forward and if you like the work the general contractor is doing, you keep them; if you don't like it, you can kick them out," Superintendent M. Martin O'Shea said. He added that option three made the general contractor more accountable and the process more transparent.

Kinghorn described option three as "the best of both worlds."

Gagliarducci noted that there "couldn't be a better time" to begin this project.

"There is nothing of this scope [$82 million] west of 495 to New York, from Hartford to Burlington, Vermont," he said.

Kinghorn agreed. He estimated that close to 12 general contractors would bid on the project along with approximately 200 subcontractors, and "competition is ruthless right now."

Wilbraham Selectman Patrick Brady moved that the School Building Committee accept option three as the bidding plan, and Hampden Selectman Vinnie Villamaino seconded. The motion passed, and it will be presented to the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School Committee during their meeting on Dec. 15.