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Bids begin for school

At a special meeting held May 31, the District 206 School Board took action to accept bids for the first contracts related to the new high school construction project.

The combined bid packages for work such as paving, site electrical, irrigation and fencing totaled close to $6.8 million. Other site work bids still remain, but if they come in at the $1.7 million estimate, the project will be about $240,000 under the total site budget of $8.7 million.

A total of 53 bids were received covering 12 different work scopes. Local companies faring well in the bidding process include the following:

• Central Specialties of Alexandria was awarded the asphalt paving contract in the amount of $1,477,000.

• Alexandria Electric was awarded the site electrical contract for $845,600.

• Exterior Designs of Alexandria was awarded the irrigation, seeding and sodding (combined bid) contract for $430,000.

Other contracts awarded include:

• Earthwork and site utilities (combined bid) - $2,726,000 - Peterson Companies, Inc. of Chisago City.

• Track surface - $310,749 - Fisher Tracks, Inc. of Boone, Iowa.

• Tennis court surface - $59,870 - Upper Midwest Athletic Construction of Anoka.

• Bleachers - $642,858 - Seating and Athletic Facility Enterprises, Inc. of Ellendale.

• Fencing - $259,000 - Oberg Fence Company of Deerwood.

All bids were reviewed in detail by Kraus-Anderson, the construction management firm for the project, to ensure they were in accordance with the project work scope.

Following Kraus-Anderson's recommendation, the board took action to hold for further review the bid package for athletic field equipment, citing the need for clarification. This bid package is expected to come back to the board for action at the next regular board meeting on June 18.

The board also voted to reject all bids for the site concrete package and put the package out for rebidding.

Significant differences in the bids led to the realization that the competing bidders were understanding the plans differently and not bidding the exact same scope of work.

The Tradesmen Construction of Alexandria was the low bidder for the site concrete. Review into the bids revealed that the next highest bid - submitted by an out-of-town bidder - included additional concrete work/sidewalks that were not included in The Tradesmen Construction's bid.

A letter was submitted by legal representation of The Tradesmen Construction just prior to Thursday's meeting, arguing that the bid should be awarded to the lowest bidder, and that the sidewalks were not part of this bid package.

Board members voted to reject all bids and put the package out for re-bidding to ensure all bidders clearly understood the work scope and bid accordingly.

Kraus-Anderson will clarify the scope of the work. A recommendation for the contract award for site concrete will come before the board in July.

The community could see site work begin as early as mid-June. The new high school will be built on a 167-acre site already owned by the school district, located at the intersection of 50th Avenue and Pioneer Road.

The new building will house 1,400 students in grades 9-12. It will feature a cutting edge learning environment, a 1,000-seat auditorium, on-site athletic facilities and fields, and will serve as a center for academics, arts and activities for all ages.

The project is targeted for completion by September 2014.

BitzanTara Bitzan Tara Bitzan is a lifelong Douglas County resident. She obtained a degree in Mass Communications/Print Journalism and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University. She joined the Echo Press in 1991 and currently serves as the Life/Variety/Special Projects editor. She lives in rural Douglas County with her husband, Dennis, and their daughters, Courtney and Cayla. Follow Life Editor Tara Bitzan on Twitter at @TBitzan.

Tara Bitzan

Tara Bitzan is editor of the Echo Press. She joined the company in 1991 as a news reporter. A lifelong resident of Douglas County, Tara graduated from Brandon High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University. She and her husband, Dennis, and their children live near Alexandria.

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