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Elementary remodel: Bids approved $1.5 million below budgeted cost

Wadena-Deer Creek School board members breathed a sigh of relief as they approved bids well under previous estimates for the elementary school remodel March 6 at a special board meeting.

Estimates for the major overhaul of the elementary building were sitting at around $10 million but the board approved low bids of $8.4 million, giving added wiggle room as crews begin digging in. It also allows the school to take on a few alternate projects they had hoped they could add while the work was going on.

Damien Williams, project manager with ICS, the consulting firm the school has partnered with on the project, shared the list of recommended contracts with the board, which included:

Sitework- Anderson Brothers - $123,590

General construction - Gopher State Contractors - $2,225,876

Roofing - Thelen Heating and Roofing - $375,800

Aluminum - Northland Glass and Glazing - $1,007,000

Acoustical ceilings - Dow Acoustics - $162,400

Fire protection - Summit Companies - $174,770

Plumbing and heating - Climate Makers - $1,837,000

Ventilation - Chappell Central - $1,464,000

Testing and balancing - McFarlane - $67,400

Electrical - MVI Electric - $983,867

That's a total of $8,422,063, which is about $1.5 million lower than expected. Williams commented that numbers like those are historical. Others were also pleased with the results.

"We are very pleased," Superintendent Lee Westrum said about the project coming under budget. "It's exciting to have a little wiggle room."

"It's very exciting that our constituents will get more for their money," board chair Kent Schmidt said.

Ten bid packages were received from 29 bidders with the high bid total around $11.2 million and the low around $8.2 million.

The total approved bid includes the cost of four alternates. Those alternates include:

Translucent panels in the gymnasium ($111,500); the addition of a family bathroom, which will be added near the two new bathrooms near the lunchroom ($23,185); additional flooring ($11,600); and on open trench sewer line ($19,200).

The remodel project will take place over two summers, but this approved bid secures the cost for all those projects over both summers, with the exception of contingency costs, which could be up to 5 percent of the bids, or about $500,000.

Next steps in the process include reviewing the asbestos abatement bid results, review of the door access control bids and development of a sitework plan for the south side of the school.

Superintendent Lee Westrum noted that the school does have an additional wish list, and once all these projects start to firm up, they may have a better idea what projects they may be able to tackle with the extra funds.

The south side site work can be developed after two homes are removed next to the school. They are set to be sold by sealed bids in May. Westrum said the homes have had interest and have already been shown to interested parties.

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