November 15, 2017 11:03:08 AM
The Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees declined to accept a bid for the construction of the SOCSD/MSU Partnership School at Tuesday night's meeting, opting to accept a final bid on the project by December's meeting.
The board received four bids from Mississippi-based construction companies including Flagstar Construction Company and Thrash Commercial Contractors in Brandon, Century Construction & Realty in Tupelo and West Brothers Construction in Columbus.
The lowest bid, which was by West Brothers Construction, is only 1 percent over the project architect Bruce Wood's estimate, at $26,320,000. However, that does not include the additional $2 million that has already been awarded to complete dirt work.
Originally, the project was expected to be $27.5 million, with all dirt work included, but after recent natural disasters Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, construction costs started to rise.
Wood said the base bid includes basic landscaping, irrigation, bleachers, cafeteria equipment and some furniture like the receptionist desks and the media center desks. Other school furniture, like cafeteria tables and classroom desks, are not provided in the base bid. Other features the construction company could include at an additional cost are a trellis outside of the cafeteria, enhanced landscaping along the entrance drive and additional water lines.
According to Wood, West Brothers Construction, who also built The Longest Student Health Center and renovated Lee Hall on MSU's campus, has been accommodating with other projects in similar situations.
However, since the lowest base bid is still over budget, SOCSD Superintendent Eddie Peasant said the board needs to work with the architects and construction company to find possible ways to lower the project cost that will not take away from the integrity of the project.
"I think we're just going to have to be a little more conservative," Peasant said. "This means using manual blinds instead of automatic blinds, using less glass paneling, and other things like changing the enhanced landscaping."
The Board of Trustees next meeting is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 12. Peasant said the matter will be discussed in the interim, with a final bid accepted by the next board meeting or at the next board meeting.
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