CONWAY – Why didn’t local companies bid on the Kennett High School window replacement project?
That was the question Conway School board member Randy Davison, who sits on the facilities committee, asked at the Zoom board meeting Monday night.
“I’m really surprised that none of the local companies even made an offer,” said Davison.
The board invited eight companies to take part in the tender to replace all 511 windows of the now 14-year-old school. Only two proposals submitted.
Lockheed Window Corp. of Burrillville, RI, and Cherry Hill Glass Company of Branford, Connecticut, submitted proposals through February 26th.
Those invited but refused to bid were Granite State Glass of Conway; Rich Exterior Solutions of Falmouth, Maine; BRG Corporation of Rochester, NY; Bam Bam Construction LLC of North Conway; Hancock Lumber from North Conway; and T-Buck Construction Inc. of Turner, Maine.
“I think my point is that none of the local companies actually made the offer, but they were asked,” said Davison on Monday evening.
“You had the opportunity,” replied Joe Lentini, chairman of the Conway School Board.
Lockheed Window Corp. was below the $ 1.3 million board originally estimated at $ 1,186,345.
Cherry Hill Glass Company made an offer of $ 1,425,000.
Although the board has not placed an order with either company, Lockheed’s offer prompted school boards to lower their planned $ 1.3 million for the March 3rd school counseling project. The board is seeking a bond to cover the project costs.
At the deliberative session, Lentini lowered Item # 2, the bond amount, to $ 1,186,345 after the board received the lower bid. He said the initial payment would be for $ 29,600 instead of $ 32,500.
The bond, which will be voted on April 13th at Kennett High School (8 a.m. to 7 p.m.), requires 60 percent support to be valid.
Article 2A is also related to the windows. Lentini moved to lower the amount for the Expendable Trust Fund topping up from $ 750,000 to $ 636,345 and lower the $ 493,727 that would be offset by sending cities to $ 418,906. This path could be followed if Article No. 2 fails.
In the advisory session, Peter Donohoe, vice-chairman of the local budget committee, preferred the original plan that the facilities committee had presented to the school board last spring, either Article 2 or Article 2A. The facility committee recommended the board on June 22nd to award a four-phase, four-year project for $ 937,400 to Granite State Glass for the work, but since the committee hadn’t advertised the project, which is required by the school board’s policy, the board of directors resisted.
“I think if this option is not considered it is doing the taxpayers a disservice,” Donohoe said, recommending the district use the maintenance foundations and credits to get the job done and use the district’s maintenance staff to remove the windows as recommended by the home furnishings committee.
Donohoe heard that the windows were only guaranteed for five years, but the district could also purchase an extended 10-year warranty that would cost more.
Hill said windows are guaranteed for 10 years. The district is spending $ 1,600 to extend the warranty from five to ten years.
Should the loan item be approved by voters on April 13th, the school board could decide at their next scheduled meeting on April 26th or hold a special session to award the offer for the window project, in all likelihood to Lockheed.
“It will come back to the board and you will be able to go through it with a fine tooth comb,” said Richard.
Davison wondered if anyone was familiar with the work of the Rhode Island-based company.
Superintendent Kevin Richard said that Gale Associates, a Bedford-based consultancy hired by the school board, has done at least 10 projects with Lockheed.
“They had a really good relationship with them in terms of the quality of the work in the process,” he said.
Gail Associates, hired for $ 70,000, sent Jim Hill, director of administrative services, a summary letter of offer on March 1. Board member Joe Mosca had questions about it.
He asked how the board would handle any eventuality.
Richard said the board had a few options.
“They have pretty tight specifications at work,” he said. “(Gale) has worked pretty closely with these companies before. They recommend 10 to 15 percent contingency. “
Richard said if the project exceeded the borrowing amount, the district could take money off another budget line to cover the cost, adding, “It’s (a multi-year borrowing) so there are other options you could address the. “
Mosca noted that the projected cost of $ 1,340,000 included a 15 percent contingent liability and said if that is removed the base number is $ 1,165,218, about $ 20,000 less than the offer of Lockheed.
“I just want to point it out,” he said.
Mosca also questioned a statement in the proposal that recommended adding an initial 10 percent contingency due to the “potential for unforeseen conditions at the site”.
“What are the unforeseen conditions?” he asked.
“I think that’s the standard contingency,” said Richard. “I think every project we’ve done has built in some contingency.”
“I’d say that’s just a clause,” added Courtney Burke, who also sits on the facility committee. “I would say that this is something that is only added there as a fail-safe if there is ever some kind of hazardous material or an unforeseen, dangerous situation.”
She added, “I don’t think they plan to keep putting in small parts to make things cost more. They just cover everything, they do that and they do that all the time.
“That’s why we’re working with this company to ensure that the mistakes made by our predecessors are not duplicated. We’re fixing mistakes from before, and that’s not the ideal situation, but we’re doing it right and I’m glad we are doing it. “
Mosca responded, “After working in construction for 23 years and working on $ 100 million projects, there are contractors out there trying to nickel and burden you with little things, so it happens.”
Burke said she would have liked to do business for the project locally.
“I’m the first person to do everything on site,” she said. “I buy everything on site. Almost all of my Christmas shopping is done locally, so I’m glad we tried that. “
Burke added, “I’m glad we got through things in the right channels. And I know it costs more, but we’re doing things right. And we will dot the end of the sentence and we will have beautiful windows and we will have wonderful facility that we don’t have to worry about for over 30 years. “
The board prefers the commitment rather than dealing with any of the maintenance trust funds.
“The idea was brought to us to pay for everything at once instead of tying it up, but we, the board of directors, voted to have it tied,” Lentini told An Opportunity for us, as part of the strategic plan, to reduce costs over a period of time to distribute. “