Overrun for upgrades to elementary school might reach $300,000, but officials say other costs can be cut
The Dunwiddie Elementary School expansion and remodeling project slated to begin this spring is nearly $107,000 over budget with two proposals outstanding, according to bids approved by the Port Washington-Saukville School Board last week.
With 37 of the 39 bids approved, the project cost stands at $3.76 million.
A total of $3.8 million has been earmarked for an addition on the westside Port Washington school, but that includes a contingency of $151,000. The working budget, minus the contingency, is $3.65 million.
Director of Business Services Jim Froemming said the deficit will probably approach $300,000 after the last two bids and various fees are accounted for, but officials are not concerned.
“As a matter of fact, we’re pleased with where the bids came in given how the construction industry has picked up,” Supt. Michael Weber said.
The fear was that as the economic recovery stimulates the construction industry, contractors would become more selective and less likely to offer lower prices that were the norm during the recession, especially for relatively small projects like the addition at Dunwiddie Elementary School.
But in addition to receiving what they characterized as favorable bids, officials pointed out they still have a contingency and expect to more than account for a deficit on the Dunwiddie project with savings on the much larger and more expensive Port Washington High School project.
In April, voters approved spending $49.4 million on Dunwiddie Elementary School and the high school, which will undergo a sweeping renovation that includes the demolition and reconstruction of part of the building.
“Yes, we know we’re over budget by a little bit at Dunwiddie, but we’re approaching this as one big project, so if we’re over by $300,000 or so at Dunwiddie, that’s a small fraction of the total project cost,” Froemming said. “We know that if we need to make them, small changes in the high school project can save a substantial amount of money.”
Officials were encouraged by the bids for a retaining wall that will facilitate the construction of a three-story academic wing on the hill on the west side of the high school. The complex engineering project will require 85 pillars of reinforced concrete to be driven 25 feet into the ground, said Greg Sabel, director of construction management for CD Smith, the construction management firm hired to oversee the school projects.
The contract for the project, which was estimated to cost $660,000, was awarded to Midwest Drilled Foundations of Waukesha for $545,000 — $115,000 under budget.
For the Dunwiddie Elementary School project, CD Smith was awarded $1.3 million of the $3.8 contracts approved by the board, primarily for concrete, masonry and steel work. According to the firm’s contract with the district, it can “self-perform” work on the projects, but its bids are evaluated by the district. All other bids are evaluated by CD Smith, which then recommends the top proposals to the board.
Officials said they were pleased that two Port Washington companies submitted low bids for work on the elementary school. A bid of $314,100 for heating, ventilation and air conditioning work from J&H Heating and bids totalling $404,155 for earth work from Dave’s Excavation were accepted by the board.
In addition, the board accepted a bid of $59,496 from Cornerstone Carpentry Contractor of Grafton for finish carpentry work.
“I was very pleased to see local contractors came through,” Weber said.