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SVE awards bids on new school

SPRING VALLEY – The good news Wednesday was the Spring Valley Elementary District now has a general contractor for its new school project. The board awarded $11 million in contracts to Williams Brothers Construction of Peoria Heights and to contractors to handle the new building’s plumbing, temperature control and fire protection projects.

Those four bids were lower than estimated, which pleased board members.

But the bids for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and electrical came in over estimate, with the electrical bid being a whopping 56 percent more than estimated by district architect Bill VanDusen of Allied Design of Springfield.

Still, VanDusen was in a positive mood Wednesday night.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

School officials first began discussing expanding the Kennedy school building in 1997. The expansion would allow the district to close Lincoln School, which is 75 years old, and have all the students at one location.

In July 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a capital bill, and board members had hopes of $8 to $10 million flowing to Spring Valley. In February 2012 the announcement finally came from the state the district would receive $12.23 million.

The bids were opened March 20, and, in total, came in only 3.8 percent over the estimate, or a total of $15.05 million, compared to an estimate of $14.5 million. VanDusen said they spent the week reviewing the bids and making some calculations in an effort to get the total back down to the $14.5 million.

The board awarded the four bids subject to mutual price reductions with the contractor, to be finalized on or before April 26. In addition to the general contractor bid, the board also awarded bids to JB Contracting Group, LaSalle, for plumbing for $687,000; Absolute Fire Protection of Rockford for fire protection for $145,400; and Johnson Controls, Inc. of East Peoria for temperature controls for $269,626.

VanDusen said the four contractors would probably have some recommendations for additional reductions, and the bids were approved “subject to mutual price reductions with the contractor, to be finalized on or before Friday, April 26.”

The board then decided to table the other two bids until the engineers can “revisit and re-evaluate” them. Commercial Mechanical Inc. of Dunlap was the low bidder at $1.9 million, 12 percent higher than the estimated cost. JB Contracting was also the low bidder for the electrical, but the bid of $1.9 million was almost 57 percent higher than the estimated cost.

Frank Maras of HDR Engineering then led the board through some proposed reductions. Maras said he did not recommend some $52,000 in reductions that would decrease the energy efficiency of the project, and cost the district more in the long run.

He did recommend accepting an additional $35,000 in reductions that would only have a slight noise impact.

However, $35,000 is a long ways from the $553,000 the board wanted to cut.

Maras said the only proposed reduction that would come close to reaching that goal would be to eliminate about half of the proposed geothermal wells, and connect those portions of the school into the existing boiler system.

“I thought the whole concept of geothermal is it would pay for itself,” said Superintendent Jim Hermes.

Maras said he would work on an estimate of how much reducing the number of wells could increase the long-term utility costs.

Another factor under consideration is the board’s desire to air condition all of the existing JFK building. Maras also discussed a number of possibilities, with the lowest price option costing about $1.1 million.

Board members agreed to review the proposed reductions and to set another meeting for the week of April 8. The bids are good for 60 days from the March 20 bid opening.

Maras said they would continue to look for more reductions.

“We’ll get together with the contractors again and see what we can possibly put together,” he said.

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