Niles awards bids for Howard-Ellis project, appoints new board member

Published 8:57 pm Monday, April 18, 2016

The Niles Community Schools Board of Education awarded bids for the multimillion dollar bond construction project at Howard-Ellis Elementary School and chose a person to fill a vacant school board seat during Monday’s regular meeting at Niles High School.

Bids awarded for the Howard-Ellis project total just more than $5.5 million, which is about 2 1/2 percent (or $140,000) over budget, according to Duane Wixson, a representative of the project management company Skillman Corp.

Wixson said the district would cover the overage by dipping into the project’s contingency balance, which is set aside for when unforeseen problems arise. He said each individual building project has about 10 percent of the project’s total cost set aside as a contingency balance.

The contingency balance for Howard-Ellis is approximately $510,000, so there is more than enough to cover the overage, he said.

The project includes an addition and renovations throughout the Howard building, including updates to safety and technology. Ellis, a separate building, will be closed.

The total project cost is approximately $7.9 million when including soft costs, Wixson said.

The school board also accepted bids for mechanical purchases, including air conditioning, in all district buildings as part of the bond project.

Howard-Ellis is the first building in Niles Community Schools set to undergo construction projects laid out in a $40 million bond project approved by voters last spring. Work on Howard-Ellis is expected to begin next month.

Also Monday, the school board appointed Mark Weber, CEO of the Niles-Buchanan YMCA, to fill the school board seat vacated when Jon Martin resigned because he moved outside the district.

Weber would have to run for reelection in the November general election if he wants to retain his seat.

Look for more on these stories in Thursday’s edition of the Niles Daily Star and online at