CEDAR FALLS — Furniture bids for three elementary schools came in about $13,000 under estimates.
The Board of Education approved purchases totaling $1.17 million from five companies during a special meeting Wednesday. The furniture is for the new Bess Streeter Aldrich Elementary opening this fall as well as for portions of Orchard Hill and North Cedar elementary schools that are being renovated and expanded.
Cedar Falls Community Schools officials needed to approve the purchases now so that furniture is delivered in time for the start of school next fall, particularly with Aldrich. Projects at the other two schools will be ongoing during the next year. The typical second Monday board meeting isn’t happening this month due to spring break, so the board’s next regular meeting will be March 26.
Costs totaled $602,157 for Aldrich, $337,634 for Orchard Hill and $225,948 for North Cedar. Estimates were $606,000 for Aldrich, $341,000 for Orchard Hill and $232,000 for North Cedar. Total cost was estimated at $1.18 million for the three schools.
Purchases included seating, desks, and tables for students, teachers and administrators. Along with chairs for classrooms, there was soft seating for common areas and media centers. There was also a variety of other items like bookcases, files, risers, music stands, nurses’ cots and more.
“We were pretty happy with the response we got from the various vendors,” said Dan Channer of Struxture Architects in Waterloo, which led the process to prepare specifications and seek bids.
The breakdown in costs by company was $361,528 for Storey Kenworthy of Cedar Falls, $306,467 for Frank Cooney Company of Wood Dale, Ill., $305,339 for Premier Furniture & Equipment of Waverly, $164,158 for Kirk Gross Company of Waterloo, and $28,247 for Koch Brothers, Inc., of Des Moines.
“You’ll see that the majority of the vendors are from what I would say is the Cedar Valley,” said Superintendent Andy Pattee.
“This has been a long process and a very in-depth process,” he added. Specifications were developed with the input of students and staff at the schools, who tested furniture that was being considered. Officials looked at “what might best fit students’ needs and what might best fit our design.”
The affordability of each option was considered, as well, through alternates that were bid.
“We ended up looking at 18 different alternates, which is a lot actually for a furniture bid,” said Andrea Kucera, Struxture’s interior designer.
Purchases are being paid for with a combination of physical plant and equipment levy dollars, building level funds and construction bond money.