FARMINGTON — Members of businesses from Farmington and San Juan County expressed their concerns that they would not be able to work on district construction projects to the Farmington school board Thursday night.
A nearly 90 minute discussion took place at the Farmington Municipal School District Board of Education meeting regarding the Construction Manager at Risk, or CMAR, process that is being used to build the new Farmington High, Hermosa Middle and Northeast Elementary schools. Local contractors questioned whether the process would hurt or eliminate their chances at participating in the estimated $100 million worth of projects.
A district official said local businesses will not be locked out, but the projects must meet certain requirements to get state funding.
Bryan McCarty, vice president of Farmington Heating and Brent Brady, owner and president of Westates Supply, Inc. started with a series of questions asking why the district chose to pursue the CMAR process of contracting in place of the previous method of "design, bid, build" used on projects like the New Tibbetts Middle School campus on Twin Peaks Boulevard.
Jaynes Corporation is the CMAR on the three district projects. Under the new process Jaynes was brought in during the design phase of Farmington High, Northeast and Hermosa to provide assistance to the architects. In design, bid, build projects, a bid or request for proposal from a contractor is sought after the design phase is completed.
"The whole point of this is to raise awareness on all fronts," McCarty said during the meeting. "I just want to pose these questions, get it out there and talk about it."
McCarty and other business owners involved in plumbing, electric, heating and construction work brought up worries sub-contractors and suppliers of construction materials would see work which could be performed by a local business awarded to bigger companies based in Albuquerque.
Questions about the large scale and the fast time frame of the projects were brought up by multiple business representatives who said that could prohibit them from participating in the projects. They said they were concerned the CMAR process might disqualify sub-contractors who bid on pieces of the capital projects due to having less experience or an inability to obtain insurance bonds on their work.
District chief of operations Ted Lasiewicz said he thought it was a productive meeting where the contractors and sub-contractors were able to voice their concerns on the projects to the board members.
"The board was able to respond and let then know they were listened to and we would consider all bids and proposals for subcontractors and suppliers," Lasiewicz said.
Lasiewicz said the district is working in the time frame required by the New Mexico Public Education Department and Public School Capital Outlay Council to complete the projects. Meeting those requirements means the state will fund up to 60 percent of the projects' cost.
"Both Hermosa and Northeast (schools) are fast track processes, the only way to carry out a ground-breaking (June 1) and allow students to take possession of the school next August is the CMAR process," Lasiewicz said.