Smiles All Around
HIGH SCHOOL BIDS COME IN UNDER ESTIMATE
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.