Leader Blues

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

TOP STORY >>School bid for Cabot at $11.6M

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

Although no commitments were made, Cabot school officials now have a feel for how much rebuilding Cabot Junior High North, lost to a fire last August, will actually cost after nearly 20 bids were opened Thursday afternoon.

According to assistant superintendent Jim Dalton, the total cost for the new 134,000 square-foot campus was bid about $7 million less than the state’s projected cost of $18.5 million.

“With the dirt work, architect fees, soil testing and foundation work, everything except what is moveable – like the student desksand overhead projectors, the lowest bid came in at $11.6 million, which is $86.84 a square-foot,” Dalton said.

“It went very good,” he said of opening the 18 bids. “It far exceeded my expectations,” he said.

Using the state’s projected cost of $18.5 million, the estimated cost for the district to build would be about $3 million. That’s after applying the $10 million they received in January from Great American Insurance Company of Ohio, the district’s insurance company, and a projected $5.2 million (maximum amount) in catastrophic funding received through the state’s Facilities Division.

But with the lowest bid being $6.9 million less, the Cabot district won’t be seeing as high of costs on their end.

“The first $10 million for construction will come from the insurance settlement and we will use the state’s partnership funding for the remainder,” Dalton said.

That means Cabot’s share of the build will be closer to $640,000, rather than $3 million.

“We were extremely pleased with the lower bids because we get out cheaper,” Dalton said, “plus the state will not have to pay as much either.”

In the partnership funding, any costs above $10 million are shared between the state and school district in a 60/40 split, with the state paying the bill for 60 percent.

Now that all the bids have been opened and tallied, the district’s architect, Steve Elliott, of Lewis, Elliott and Studer, Inc., of Little Rock, will review the bids and make his recommendation.

“He’ll make sure the bid bond (5 percent of the company’s total bid) is in order and that all the products listed for use meet the specifications as outlined in the building specs,” Dalton said.

Once Elliott’s recommendation is made, construction on the two-story structure should begin within a month. Dirt work, at a bid of $336,000, has been ongoing for the last couple of months.

The cost of asphalt, curbs and gutters for the parking lots, as well as landscaping, will be bid out at a later date, Dalton said. The landscaping bid will not be bid out until three or four months before construction is complete, he said.

The new CJHN will be rebuilt on the hill with facilities capable of holding 1,200 students. There will be 51,850-square-foot classrooms to meet the new building standards, increasing the classroom size by 100-square feet. It will have a sprinkler system, meet the indoor air quality standards and have a larger cafeteria to hold more students.

The design utilizes current parking and buildings. The vocational building, multi-purpose building and physical education building were left intact after last August’s electrical fire destroyed the rest of the 8-year-old school.