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School contract is OK'd
Friday, June 29, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
The contract to renovate Martinsville High School was awarded to Blair Construction of Gretna on Thursday evening at a special city school board meeting.
During the meeting in the city council chambers, the contract was signed by Martinsville School Board Chairman Bill Manning. He said he felt comfortable with all of the provisions listed in the contract and was grateful for changes made to lower its cost.
Blair Construction submitted a bid of almost $10.2 million in May for the project, which school officials have negotiated since to try to lower the cost.
The revised contract, prepared by RRMM Architects and totaling $7,932,586, was presented to the board Thursday evening.
A few weeks ago, the city school board awarded a $333,000 contract to Service Roofing of Martinsville for roofing work to parts of the high school. Between the two contracts and additional “soft costs,” such as design fees and furniture, the $9.3 million in federal Qualified School Construction Bonds that were approved by Martinsville City Council for the project in October still will be needed, said Ben Motley, principal architect for RRMM.
Despite the changes in the project, all problem roofing areas will be replaced, science labs will be fully renovated, the kitchen and commons areas will be renovated, and there is a project contingency provision in place, Motley said.
“While we’ve had to make some scope changes and some quality changes, we still have a very solid project,” he added.
According to Motley, some of the changes include:
• Reducing the amount of renovations to the second floor of area G. He did not elaborate on those renovations.
• Changing the types of improvements in the connectors between the various buildings. The plan now is to have security fencing instead of full enclosures, Motley said.
• The original project plans called for three light monitors that raise portions of the roof to allow light in, but now the project allows for only one light monitor. That still will be “a nice 21st-century environment for students,” especially in the cafeteria area, Motley said.
• Bonding requirements for all subcontractors at the $200,000 level and above were eliminated to reduce costs. Originally, a bonding requirement was put in place to ensure that quality major subcontractors were involved in the project, but that provision no longer is needed because the job is fully bonded, Motley said.
• Only one boiler will be replaced at the high school instead of two because the second boiler is used only as a backup boiler. The second replacement can wait until later, he said.
• A new fire alarm system, emergency lighting and new structure cabling for technology will be updated only in the areas where renovations are taking place instead of the entire school building, which was in the original plans, Motley said.
• Friable asbestos, which can become airborne easily, will not be removed from the entire building. That is being addressed and removed only where it is being disturbed as part of the renovations. “It’s a safe thing to do,” and there is no danger by leaving asbestos in the school, Motley said.
• Buying from different manufacturers to get the best price on kitchen equipment and other items.
• Change the type of roofing membrane to lower the cost. However, the new roofing choice included a longer warranty and a slightly modified roofing system, Motley said.
Money also is being saved by the city not charging for building permits because the renovation is a public project, Motley said.
Blair Construction still is negotiating with subcontractors on floor tiles due to higher estimates than expected, Motley said. There were placeholder allowances in the contract to allow for that cost, he added.
The project will take 2 1/2 to 3 years to complete, Manning said. He added that the project is two to three weeks behind because of the negotiations to lower the cost.
Blair Construction began the demolition by taking down walls last week after the school board approved a hold-harmless agreement, which makes the school system not liable to pay if a contract was not finalized and signed, according to Robert Williams, city school board vice chairman and an attorney.
However, Blair Construction can move forward quickly on the demolition now that the contract has been signed, Manning said.
Service Roofing will coordinate work with Blair Construction during the renovations. The roofing renovations have not begun yet, Manning said.
Also during Thursday evening’s meeting, personnel matters were discussed in closed session. Afterward, the school board accepted the resignation of Jessica Wickline, a teacher at Albert Harris Elementary School, and the retirement of Linda Reed, administrative assistant for the city schools, according to city school board clerk Lynda Pulliam.