Construction bids rejected by school board

The Marshalltown School Board got a major case of sticker shock as bids for two construction projects at Marshalltown High School came in way over the original estimates from the architects.

The board decided to reject the bids at a meeting Monday and in the future look at ways to bring construction costs down.

The Roundhouse re-roofing bid from Academy Roofing and Sheet Metal was nearly $300,000 over the estimated budget. It was the lone bid on the project and came in at $709,000.

The board hoped to get the re-roofing project done this summer in advance of the major renovation of the Roundhouse next year. Now, it will decide whether to package the re-roofing into the major renovation or bid it separately at a later date.

“This does not defer the fact that we are going forward full speed ahead with the Roundhouse,” said School Board President Sherm Welker. “It only means we hit a bump.”

Construction personnel thought the roundness of the roof added to the complexity and cost of the project. Also, the bidding process came at a time when many contractors have already set their schedules for summer work.

The Project Lead the Way classroom remodeling bids came in at the $1 million range. The architect’s original estimate was $335,000.

“It is way beyond our anticipated budget,” said architect Dave Schulze.

Much like the Roundhouse work, the high bids will not prevent the PLTW work from happening. Schulze will bring to the board new plans to cut costs on the project with hopes to have it cost $400,000.

“We’re still excited about the program and we’re still going to make it happen,” Schulze said.

He said he needs to “re-calibrate” his estimate based on the fact they are seeing inflated costs in construction.

The next regular meeting of the school board will be at 5 p.m. June 17 at district offices.