Board approves contracts for new school

An artistic rendering of the new elementary school to be built in Prospect. –CONTRIBUTED

An artistic rendering of the new elementary school to be built in Prospect. –CONTRIBUTED

REGION 16 — School officials have awarded 17 out of the 20 contracts for the construction of the new Prospect Elementary School.

“I’m very pleased with the number of contractors that bid and the interest in our project,” Superintendent of Schools Tim James said.

The majority of the bid packages received multiple bids, according to documents provided by James. The contracts for the doors, frames and hardware, lockers and elevators each received two bids. The Manchester-based Robert H. Lord Co. was the only bidder for the gymnasium equipment and awarded the contract for $109,840.

The largest contract, which is for site work, excavation and landscaping, received nine bids and was awarded to the Richards Corporation out of Terryville for $5.6 million.

The bids were opened Oct. 22, James said. Representatives from Turner Construction and Flethcer Thompson, consultants working on the project, reviewed and vetted the qualifications of the lowest bidders. During a special meeting Oct. 29, the Board of Education unanimously approved the recommendations from the Region 16 School Building Committee on awarding the 17 contracts, James said.

The consultants are still reviewing bids for the masonry, roofing and HVAC work to ensure the lowest bidders meet the specifications and qualifications in the contract. The 17 bids awarded last week were given to the lowest bidders. If the remaining three contracts are awarded to the lowest bidders the cost of constructing the new school will come in roughly $1.57 million under budget, according to the documents. The construction of the new school was estimated to cost about $28 million.

James said the three remaining contracts are expected to be awarded later this month.

Officials have also not acted yet on five bid alternatives for the project.  

The new school, which will be built at 75 New Haven Road in Prospect, is the largest part of a three-part building project. The project includes renovations and additions to Laurel Ledge Elementary School in Beacon Falls and a new district office. In December 2011, voters in Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, approved bonding $47.5 million for the project.

Site work, including clearing the property and any grading that is needed, will begin for the new school Nov. 11, James said. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held after Nov. 11, he said. The ceremony was not scheduled as of this post.

“We’re just anxious to get the project started,” James said.

The new school is scheduled to be completed in February 2015 and open for students in the fall of 2015. Once the new school opens Community and Algonquin schools in Prospect will be closed.

As the new school project moves forward, delays with the renovations to Laurel Ledge continue.

The delay on the Laurel Ledge project stems from the local review process.

Due to the case load at the state Bureau of School Facilities, state officials requested a local review of the designs for the new school and work at Laurel Ledge be done. 

The local review of the Laurel Ledge project has not been completed yet. The holdup is over what exactly needs to be reviewed on the Laurel Ledge designs.

Architects from Fletcher Thompson and school officials argue the review is only applicable to the scope of the project. The project includes building corridors to connect the buildings at the campus-style school, renovating two bathrooms and construction of a new science room.

Bruce Spiewak, the consultant hired by Beacon Falls to do the review, contends the scope of the project impacts other portions of the school and must be considered within the review.

The two sides have been at an impasse for months and the project can not be put out to bid until the review is finished. James said last week officials are working to resolve the matter.

The school board will finalize the plans for a new district office once all the contracts for the other two parts of the project are set. As things stand now, the plan calls for razing Algonquin School and building a new office on that site.