Elementary school remodel bid awarded

The Oak Harbor School District Board of Directors voted Monday night to award a $5 million remodeling construction contract to a Sedro-Woolley construction company.

Anda Construction will begin work on Olympic View Elementary later this month and round it up with the completion of the remodeling of Broad View Elementary in August 2003, said Gary Goltz, construction manager for Oak Harbor School District.

Funding for the project comes from a bond issue approved by voters in May 1996, as well as matching funds the district will receive from the state.

While Anda is based in Sedro-Woolley, the projects will have a positive economic impact on the North Whidbey economy, as Anda will use some local subcontractors and will employ local workers, Goltz said.

The exact cost of remodeling the two schools is $4.98 million, which is what the district expected.

“Our cost estimator estimated the cost at $4.98 million, which is exactly what Anda bid,” Rick Schulte, superintendent, told the board Monday night.

Schulte took the opportunity to apparently rebut critics’ statements, both from the distant past and the recent past.

Five years ago, Schulte said, “people” wanted him to estimate the exact cost of this remodel.

“The estimating process is fraught with difficulty,” Schulte said, and it is impossible to accurately predict in the long-range.

Additionally, Schulte said that it is unreasonable to expect that a school district can be run like a business, perhaps to rebut school board candidate John Bartlett’s recent criticism of school district spending, and his assertion that a school district should be run like a business.

Schulte referred to the variance among the seven valid bids received for the Olympic View and Broad View projects to demonstrate his point.

“This is an imprecise business,” Schulte said, pointing out that the seven bids varied by 20 percent from low bid to high bid. Anda’s bid was the lowest, and the highest came in at more than $5.8 million.

An eighth bid was received from another construction company and later withdrawn because it was incomplete. “The bid opening was a bit of a surprise. (The bid) was so low we would have lost our state match,” Goltz said to the board. The construction company then reviewed its bid, Goltz said, and discovered that it had left out about a half million dollars worth of electrical work.

The remodeling of Olympic View Elementary will include the construction of a central kitchen, so that the National School Lunch Program can be implemented in the district’s six elementary schools next fall. Food will be prepared at Olympic View and then transported to the other elementary schools.

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