The Saugerties Central School District will go out to rebid next month for work on Phase II of its $22 million districtwide capital project, with planners hoping the partial lack of interest and bids coming in higher than anticipated will be less of an issue this time around.
The Board of Education received an update during its Tuesday, December 13 meeting held at Grant D. Morse Elementary School from James Bouffard, senior architectural designer with Tetra Tech, a Pasadena, California-based consulting and engineering firm with offices around the globe; and Jeff Andrews, a consultant with Albany-based BBL Construction Services. The pair also updated work that had already been completed or is close to being finished, including resurfacing the track at Saugerties High School, and reroofing work at both Cahill Elementary and the Hildebrandt Building, which houses the district’s administrative operations.
Bouffard opened with news about a stage addition at Morse, which will give the elementary school an equitable performance space when compared to other schools in the district.
“We had to apply with the State Education Department (SED) for a code variance at the stage opening, and we received that right after Thanksgiving,” Bouffard said, adding that planners have been working to recombine that into a complete and cohesive rebid set.
In the process of reconfiguring the rebid set, Bouffard said planners had worked with school officials to reevaluate the plan’s priorities to address the highest needs, along with removing about $4 million in scope. They’ve also reduced the side of in-contract allowances to allow for more construction dollars, along with reallocating a portion of the incidental budget.
Bouffard explained that the project has also had more alternates added, providing the district with an option to modify the work to select the most advantageous scope given available funding. At the Junior-Senior High School, that includes generator and ATS (automatic transfer switch) work, weight room flooring and reinforcement, spray booth work, and locker room renovations.
Alternates at Cahill include additional flooring work on all four floors, divided into four distinct sets to allow for maximum flexibility. And at Morse, alternates include roofing work for the stage addition and adding cooling in the gymnasium.
The new plans also include adding a window contractor to the host of prime contracts for the work on the project.
The bidding schedule will open with plans being made available for review on Tuesday, January 3, with bids due on Thursday, February 2. Anderson said the planners will review contractor qualifications through Monday, February 6, and will plan to make recommendations for awarding contracts to the School Board on Tuesday, February 14.
“We’re looking to have a kickoff meeting with contractors at the beginning of April, trying to target a time when there’s downtime in the schools so we can walk through and allow those that have the contracts to really see what they need to do in preparation for summer work,” said Anderson. “The plan is to finish kind of at the end of the summer of 2024, with the closeout occurring right after.”
Bouffard said that while much of the work would be done over summer breaks and at times students weren’t in school buildings, they would seek full separation in other instances.
“I think the most important point to make in a capital project is that everyone’s safety is first and foremost,” he said. “That’s paramount…We know that education is the first and most important thing that has to happen in these buildings during construction, so there’s also requirements about when certain noise levels of activities can happen, things of that nature.”
Contractors will be required to wear badges on school grounds and will have to park separately from students and staff.
Anderson added that during construction, BBL would have full-time supervision onsite, with a superintendent assigned for the duration of work, and additional superintendents during summers when additional work is happening.
“We want to make sure that we’re providing a presence on the project, and make sure that procedures are being handled,” Anderson said, adding that they would also be there as a liaison between contractors and school officials.
“We are going to be the primary hub for communication, so there shouldn’t be any contractor popping up to say, ‘ Oh, by the way, a great idea would be X, Y and Z. ”We’ll take that information and bring that to the district so they can make proper decisions on how they want to handle the expenditure of their money.”
Andrews and Bouffard said they believed the climate is more favorable for seeking bids than it was several months ago when what the former described as an “extraordinary confluence of events” was impacting construction projects, including the War in Ukraine, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, material shortages, labor shortages, production and shipping delays, pricing volatility and contractors who are just too busy with other projects.