KINGSPORT — What do you do when faced with renovation project bids that come in more than a quarter of a million dollars higher than the estimate?
Kingsport school leaders decided to reject the bids and rebid a scaled-down renovation of the Legion Center into the Dobyns-Bennett Junior ROTC program’s new home.
The Board of Education Thursday night voted 5-0 to reject the low bid of $679,900 and three alternates of $131,700 that would have been $262,700 over the original estimate of $548,900.
Proposed changes in the rebidding project would cut $265,400 from the project and get it back on target, according to estimates.
The BOE vote is a recommendation to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to do the same thing at its meeting Tuesday. Budget Director David Frye recommended the rejection and rebid.
The move would delay completion from mid-June to around mid-August, but Frye said the program can make do with its current quarters inside D-B until the Legion Center conversion is complete. ROTC uses two classrooms inside D-B, which will be repurposed for academic or career technical education use as D-B continues on a visioning project to map out its five- and 10-year future.
Asked by BOE President Randall Montgomery why the bid was so much higher than projected, Frye said the cost came in at $77.75 per square foot instead of the estimated $45.27 per square foot.
Of that cost, he said about $35 a square foot was for mechanical work, including complete electrical replacement, and replacement of all heating and cooling except for ductwork, which would be cleaned.
The original project had the base bid plus four alternates: a covered walkway between the main building and the center; additional security fencing on the north and south sides of the center property; improved quality floor finishing; and removal of a decorative suspended ceiling.
Frye said recommendations were to delete proposed floor graphics, turn the walkway cover into a canopy; delete the suspended ceiling, a savings of $42,700; delete showers proposed for the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms; make the fire alarm system self-contained instead of hooked into D-B’s; and make the HVAC controls separate and not controllable from central maintenance.
Also, proposed new exterior windows may become an alternate; opaque interior glass deleted; acoustical panels made an alternate; delete all Panduit, a conduit system for electrical and network wiring; delete a $15,000 contingency because one is built in elsewhere; and delete a projection screen that can be installed l a t e r.
Frye said the floor graphic may be done later by the Art Department and some finishing and fixtures and other things installed by school maintenance.
On another budget matter, Superintendent Lyle Ailshie said the city and BOE may be asked to provide about $17,000 each to help the D-B band march in the presidential inaugural parade Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C.
In other action, the board unanimously approved three proposed Tennessee School Boards Association resolutions urging the General Assembly to: give local school boards, not Tennessee or a new governing body, the final say in whether to allow a charter school in their district; to leave intact the 1992 law that did away with elected school superintendents; and to oppose public school vouchers going to private schools.