Ring Lardner project bids come in over budget

Published 10:29 am Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Niles Community Schools was forced to make cuts from its bond construction project at Ring Lardner Middle School after the cost of the project came in about 10 percent over budget.

The district’s board of education on Monday approved a package of contracts for the work totaling just more than $4.9 million.

Ring Lardner is one of eight district buildings that will receive work after voters approved a pair of bond proposals totaling approximately $40 million in the spring of 2015.

Duane Wixson, senior project manager for Skillman Corp., the district’s project management company, said the bids came in around $360,000 over budget.

He said the district would rebid two project categories not approved Monday in order to save money in addition to taking $100,000 out of the project’s contingency fund, which is used for when unforeseen issues arise.

As for the cuts, Wixson said he presented to the district a list of several projects that could be removed in order to bring the Ring Lardner project back on budget.

Among the items chosen, he said, were reducing a six-room classroom addition to a four-classroom addition, delaying refinishing the gym floor and not installing new rooftop air conditioning units in the gymnasium.

When determining what to cut, Supt. Dan Applegate said the district looked at what was essential, what could be done later and what could be done with other funding sources.

“After all the construction is complete, and if there is any money left, we will prioritize needs across the district and start the process of putting things that had to be cut back into the scope of the total construction project,” he said. “There is a lot of give and take and unknowns throughout the process but we are grateful that the community supported us and we will continue to stay within our budget and use taxpayers’ dollars wisely.”

Wixson said he did not expect the Ring Lardner project to be over budget. He said the major factor for the increased cost is that construction companies are in high demand, meaning they can charge more for work.

“The construction market is very hot right now. That is the biggest single factor,” he said. “It is supply and demand.”

The school board awarded contracts for the bond project at Howard-Ellis Elementary last month. It was 2 1/2 percent (or $140,000) over budget.

The board is expected to award contracts for Ballard Elementary and Eastside Connections — the other two buildings in the first phase of the bond construction project — later this month.

Work on the remaining buildings — Niles High, Northside, Oak Manor and Southside — is scheduled to start next spring.


Construction contracts awarded:

Sitework — Hollerbach Excavating, $77,777

Asphalt paving — Rieth-Riley Construction, $5,921

Concrete — The Robery Henry Corp., $116,350

Masonry — Pearson Construction, $563,900

Structural steel — Structural Steel Services, $197,500

Roofing — Midland Engineering, $124,780

Metal studs & drywall — Bid rejected

Casework — Architectural Systems Group, $198,700

Glazing — Battle Creek Glass, $237,282

General trades — Bid rejected

Gym floor — Delay award

Painting — H & H Painting, $101,710

Flooring — Interior Finishes, $269,850

Plumbing/mechanical — $2,189,600

Electrical — Herman & Goetz, $849,000

Total amount — $4,932,370