Lowest bid nearly $1.7 million higher than projected cost

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FARMINGTON — A nearly $5 million renovation project planned for a Farmington elementary school is on hold because of rising construction costs.

The Farmington Municipal School District Board of Education voted to reject all bids for the Country Club Elementary School renovation during a May 25 special board meeting.

The total project cost approved during a Jan. 11 board meeting was estimated at nearly $4.89 million with Farmington schools contributing about $1.7 million from the 2017 bond and the state contributing about $3.1 million.

Operations director Ted Lasiewicz said the cost later was revised to about $4.25 million.

The board voted to reject all bids on May 25.

The lowest bid of the three companies was estimated at about $5.9 million, nearly $1.7 million more than projected, according to Superintendent Gene Schmidt.

Numerous renovations were planned for the school, including work on the air conditioning, heating, ventilation, plumbing, fire alarm and sprinkler systems, as well as the roof, doors and windows.

Country Club was built in 1954 and has had six additions built, including the most recent in 2002 for the cafeteria and kitchen, according to Lasiewicz.

The renovations would have taken most of all the major systems at Country Club to like-new status and left the school in good shape for another 15 to 20 years, according to board meeting minutes.

The project also would have included a fire sprinkler system, which the school does not have since it was not required when the building was constructed.

Schmidt said the district was disappointed to have to reject the bids. He attributed the high bids to an uptick in construction business statewide and discussions of tariffs on steel.

During the May 25 meeting, board Vice President Mike Issacson stated the cost of steel has recently risen about 20 to 30 percent, according to the minutes from the meeting,

The decision to put the project on hold came on the same day the Country Club staff was asked to complete packing up 15 classrooms, according to Principal Shannon Waller.

Four double portable classrooms with restrooms were set to be installed at the school during construction, which was scheduled to be finished by December 2020.

"It's kind of hard, it's frustrating," Waller said regarding the delay of the project.

He said he did not know whether the renovation will occur.

The district might pursue talks with the state Public Schools Capital Outlay Council to reduce the scope of the work and request a time extension for the project in July, according to board minutes.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

More: Renovations planned at Farmington elementary school

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