When the Saugerties Central School District last went out to bid on Phase II of its comprehensive capital project, they received no bids for their plans. This time around, after revising the project, not only did they receive multiple bids, they also came in under budget by as much as $2.2 million.
The bids were revealed by 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, during a School Board meeting held on Tuesday, February 14. The district received multiple bids for six of seven possible prime contracts, with S&O Construction Services, Inc. the sole interested party for plumbing work with a base bid of $216,471.
S&O was also the low bidder for the project’s mechanical work, their $937,024 bid less than the other company’s by over $342,000. Elsewhere, Murnane Building Contractors outbid three other firms for general work with an offer of $4,220,000, lower by nearly $1 million than the next closest. The other three prime contracts were much closer, with J&J Sass Electric, Inc. ($2,277,000) the low bidder of three for electrical work; DelSignore ($2,747,662) the low bidder of five for site work; and Architectural Glass & Metal ($1,865,000) the low bidder of four for window work. A roofing contract with S&L Roofing and Sheet Metal was previously awarded.
“Jeff and other members from our team evaluated the bidders for the last several days and made sure that everybody’s bid qualifications were good and they were competent bidders and they had what they needed to have in the bids,” said Bouffard.
The total of low bids comes in at $12,313,157, roughly $2.2 million less than budgeted. Bouffard suggested that the district may now have the flexibility to consider some recommended alternate work, which was also pitched to contractors for bids. That additional work would come in at $1,597,071, still around $603,000 less than the overall budget for Phase II.
In recommending revising the work and seeking new bids, Andrews and Bouffard late last autumn said they believed the climate is more favorable for seeking bids than it was several months earlier 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.
Three days after the School Board meeting, District Superintendent Kirk Reinhardt said patience had paid off.
“That was a great feeling Tuesday night,” he said. “It’s just wonderful stuff.”
Architects and engineers selected alternate work from a longer list of items excised after the first overall scope of work was reduced after receiving no bids last year for review by school officials. Recommended alternate projects at the Junior-Senior High School includes generator and automatic transfer switch ($354,908) and spray booth ($186,012) work. Four different flooring projects at Cahill Elementary totaling $851,000 are also under considerations. And at Grant D. Morse Elementary, cooling work in the gymnasium ($128,298) and additional parking in the school’s lot ($76,853) is also recommended.
“After the recommended award of alternates, there’s still a variance and unassigned fund balance, and we would have a little bit over $600,000,” Bouffard said. “That’s great news and allows for something else to happen as we get further into the project. Having a fund balance isn’t a bad thing when you’re starting a multi-year construction project.”
That project is expected to be completed by Fall 2024, with the bulk of the work being performed — including hazardous materials abatement — during summer breaks when students aren’t in class. All but Mt. Marion and Riccardi elementary schools would see work begin this summer, while the latter two would join in on the renovation work the following summer. Planners and school officials are anticipating a meeting with all contractors in April, with work set to get underway shortly thereafter.
While the district’s referendum for Phase II of their capital project comes in at around $22 million, Reinhardt said it was important to remember that the district’s building aid formula allows for between 63-65 percent of approved work to be reimbursed by New York State.