Pelham - Windham News May 13, 2011 - 7
School Board Signs Contract with Construction Firm by Barbara O’Brien
Despite the uncertainty that is still surrounding state funding for the proposed kindergarten addition to Windham’s Golden Brook School, School Board members have signed a 90-page contract with a construction management firm. The issue was brought up during the May 3 Windham School Board meeting. The proposed $2.9 million addition was approved by voters this past March. The warrant article was contingent, however, on 75 percent of the cost being paid from state coffers. At the time, school administrators said that the promised state aid would likely remain in place until the end of the current school year on June 30. That is one of the reasons that the warrant article was proposed this year, rather than waiting for a later time. Since March, however, the chance of Windham actually getting the state money seems to be diminishing. School Board Chairman Ed Gallagher said that “there is a heightened risk,” commenting that “there’s a lot going on in Concord these days” regarding the proposed state budget. Due to the continued economic downturn, many programs have already been cut or are in danger of being eliminated. The proposed budget, one that has already gone through the state House of Representatives, does not include funding for the kindergarten project. The budget proposal is now in the process of being dealt with by the state Senate. “Let’s hope it gets rectified there,” Gallagher said, referring to the kindergarten aid. Although a contract was signed with a construction management firm, no work will be done until an answer is received regarding the state funding, Gallagher said. “We’re just getting things lined up so that we’ll be all set to move forward, should the money come through,” he stated. “If we get the [state] funding, we want to be ready to put the shovel in the ground.”
As for the process of selecting a construction firm, Gallagher said that multiple companies provided quotes for the project. According to SAU 28 Business Administrator Adam Steel, quotes were solicited from eight companies, of which six had responded. Of those, three were interviewed and references were checked on the top two firms. Steel said that the eight firms that were solicited were pre-qualified as being able to meet the school district’s performance bonding
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Donna L. Kalil, DMD
Kenneth J. Kalil, DMD
School Board Chairman Ed Gallagher
requirements for this project. “We specifically sought out firms that are well known in this area and who have experience in public school construction projects,” he said. Steel said the selection process took nearly two months to complete. The firm with which School Board members signed the construction management contract on May 3 is Bonnette, Page and Stone of Laconia. The vote was 4 to 0 in favor of signing with Bonnette, Page and Stone. Voting in favor of
the agreement were Ed Gallagher, Jeff Bostic, Michelle Farrell, and Stephanie Wimmer. Vice Chairman Bruce Anderson was not in attendance at the meeting. Steel said that the quote
received from Bonnette, Page and Stone was the lowest, coming in at $215,075. This was $53,073 less than the next highest quote of $268,148, he said.
school district policy. As for the future, should the kindergarten addition project move forward, school administrators plan to hold a public information night where every sub-contractor interested in participating in this project can come and review design documents, ask questions, and have his or her company added to the list of vendors that will be included in bids for work. “This part of the project will be a published process,” Steel said. “Keep in mind,” he added, “that the
In response to a question from a resident regarding the process used for deciding upon a construction management firm, Steel confirmed that the project was not published publicly. “We are not required by law or policy to publish any request for proposals or bids,” Steel explained. “We are required for the process to be competitive and fair.”
“If you look closely at our Stephanie Wimmer
policy, we are not even required to receive three bids or proposals,”
Steel added. “The policy states that contracts shall be based, when feasible, on at least three competitive bids.” “While it may seem as if a published RFP [Request for Proposal] would have provided more responses, our requirements were for companies that can provide performance bonding well above what most construction companies can provide,” Steel said. “The School Board absolutely followed the policy in this process.” Gallagher agreed, saying that the procedure followed the letter of the law, as well as
construction manager contract is in the $200,000
range, while the lion’s share of the work will be done by sub- contractors.”
Gallagher said if Windham
doesn’t get state funding, it “will pose a real threat to the construction project.” “No one is more important than kindergartners,” Gallagher said, adding that these five-year-olds are just beginning their formal education and, as such, should be provided with a suitable learning environment. Currently, Windham’s now two- year-old
kindergarten program is housed in portable
classrooms on the grounds of Golden Brook School. The state has been paying for the lease of these portables for
the past two years and will continue to do so for one more
Vice Chairman Bruce Anderson
school year. After that, the cost must be borne by Windham taxpayers. “We must remain diligent” in pursuing the state funding needed to see the proposed project come to fruition, Gallagher emphasized. Gallagher said School Board members hope to have an answer to the funding dilemma before the end of June, but are uncertain when that might happen.
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