Smiles All Around


Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

FARM­ING­TON — If there was a time for danc­ing on the ta­bles and maybe a few high fives, it would have been Thurs­day af­ter­noon in the ad­min­is­tra­tive build­ing for Farm­ing­ton School District.

The low bid for a new Farm­ing­ton High School fa­cil­ity came in un­der the ar­chi­tect’s es­ti­mate by $2 mil­lion.

“I’m pretty happy,” said Mark Hague­wood with Hight Jack­son As­so­ciates af­ter open­ing six bids for phase 2 of a new Farm­ing­ton High School cam­pus.

Phase 1 was the Car­di­nal Arena, Tony McCuis­tion Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter and class­rooms for the school’s band, choir and drama pro­grams.

Phase 2 is a 99,000-square-foot build­ing that pro­vides aca­demic space, a com­mons area, li­brary and of­fices.

Prior to the bid open­ing Thurs­day af­ter­noon, Hague­wood said he es­ti­mated it would cost $15-16 mil­lion to build the new high school.

“I wouldn’t have guessed we would have been un­der 14 mil­lion, yet un­der 13 mil­lion,” Hague­wood said.

The bids ranged from a low of $ 12,987,000 from Cross­land Con­struc­tion of Rogers to a high bid of $14,787,000 from Bes­hears Con­struc­tion of Fort Smith. Cross­land was the low bid­der by only $168,000. C.R. Craw­ford Con­struc­tion of Fayet­teville sub­mit­ted the se­cond low­est bid with $13,155,000.

Hague­wood no­ticed all six bids were com­pet­i­tive and fairly tight.

The low bid is about $130 per square foot, which said Hague­wood, is a “very good price … ex­cep­tional.”

He shook his head, adding, “Never in my wildest dreams.”

Hague­wood said he would rec­om­mend Cross­land, not­ing the firm has been in­volved in other school projects, in­clud­ing Siloam Springs’ new high school. Hight Jack­son has worked with Cross­land on many projects, Hague­wood said.

Bryan Law, su­per­in­ten­dent of schools, also said he is ex­cited with the low bid. Law was es­pe­cially pleased to hear that Cross­land Con­struc­tion built the new Siloam Springs High School, not­ing he was very im­pressed with the build­ing.

“They built the new Siloam Springs High School?” Law said. “That’s all I need to know.”

Farm­ing­ton School Board will make a de­ci­sion at its March 28 meet­ing, with the rec­om­men­da­tion most likely be­ing to ap­prove Cross­land’s bid.

Farm­ing­ton orig­i­nally planned to open bids Feb. 18 but sev­eral con­trac­tors told Hague­wood they would not be able to bid on Farm­ing­ton’s pro­ject be­cause of other bid open­ings the same day.

Hague­wood rec­om­mended post­pon­ing the bid open­ing date by three weeks and also al­low­ing the con­trac­tor ad­di­tional time to fin­ish the build­ing. The district has pushed back an open­ing date un­til Novem­ber 2017.

“I’m very pleased,” Hague­wood said. “I think if we would have opened bids three weeks ear­lier, it would have been a mess.”

He added, “We caught a lull just at the right mo­ment.”

Law said the low bid will help the district when it be­gins to make plans for phase 3, a new foot­ball sta­dium, field­house, press­box, track and prac­tice field.

If the School Board ap­proves the bid, work could be­gin as soon as early April. Law said a ground­break­ing cer­e­mony would be held, prob­a­bly some­time in April.

Sub­con­trac­tors for Cross­land’s bid are Jody Gre­gory for plumb­ing, Amer­i­can Air for me­chan­i­cal, Bill’s Elec­tric and Seam­less Roof­ing.

Af­ter open­ing the bids, high school Prin­ci­pal Jon Pu­ri­foy joked with Law, say­ing he now wanted a larger cafe­te­ria and more class­rooms.

The school district will pay for the build­ing with $7.1 mil­lion in state part­ner­ship money, funds from its Cap­i­tal Im­prove­ment Projects ac­count and sav­ings through re­fi­nanc­ing older bond is­sues.


Above is an artist’s ren­der­ing of phase 2 of a new Farm­ing­ton High School. The ren­der­ing was pro­vided by Hight Jack­son As­so­ciates. The school district opened bids for phase two last week.

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