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CEDAR FALLS — Contracts were awarded Tuesday for additions and remodeling at two elementary schools.

The Board of Education approved a $10.31 million contract with Peters Construction for Orchard Hill Elementary and an $8.9 million contract with Cardinal Construction for North Cedar Elementary. The Waterloo construction companies were both low bidders on their respective projects, which each had several competitive bids.

Four other companies submitted proposals on the North Cedar project, with bids ranging from $9.02 million to $9.57 million. Cardinal’s contract includes the base bid and alternates for tunable lighting in special education classrooms, an additional cost, and installing a different digital lighting control system, a deduction.

Three other companies submitted proposals on the Orchard Hill project, with bids ranging from $10.42 million to $12.35 million. Peters’ base contract was $10.17 million and the total amount includes alternates for tunable lighting and another re-injection well, which is related to the geothermal heating and cooling system.

Despite the close bids, both projects exceeded the construction contract costs that had been estimated by officials. They are largely being funded through a bond issue approved by Cedar Falls Community Schools voters last year along with some money from the district’s 1 percent sales tax revenues and cash reserves.

On the Orchard Hill project, “our target was just under $10 (million), so we were pretty close,” said Dan Channer of Struxture Architects. He noted that the $139,000 well “is just a placeholder in case we need it.” The number of wells necessary for a building’s geothermal system is determined in the construction process.

This was the second try on approving a contract for North Cedar. The board sought proposals this spring and received bids in April ranging from $9.65 million to $11.37 million, with the lowest about 36 percent higher than the estimated price tag. All bids were rejected at that time and officials made changes in the project intended to reduce costs.

“We wanted it to be around $7 (million) and we revised that to be up around $8 (million),” said Channer. “But we’re still higher than we want to be.”

Officials have a plan to cover the additional expense. “We will be using some left over funds that we were hoping to use for future projects,” said Doug Nefzger, the district’s chief financial officer.

Kitchen equipment bids were also approved for both projects.

A $132,716 contract was awarded to Rapids Foodservice & Design of Marion, the lowest of five proposals for Orchard Hill. Others ranged from $133,565 to $145,853. Wilson Restaurant Supply of Cedar Falls was awarded a $133,908 contract for North Cedar, which was lower than its two of competitors with bids of $138,785 and $146,839.

In other business, the board approved:

A $282,095 contract with K&W Electric of Cedar Falls for Robinson-Dresser baseball field lighting upgrades, approved 5-1 with board member Jeff Hassman dissenting and board member Doug Shaw absent. K&W’s base bid was almost $10,000 lower than the other company that submitted a proposal on the project. The lighting contract follows the board’s approval last month of a $595,300 bid for field improvements. Regarding his vote, Hassman said, “I don’t think this is the highest and best use of of funding for our district considering other priorities we have.”

An agreement with Waterloo Community Schools to provides spaces for their students in the Center for Advanced Professional Studies program started in January by Cedar Falls High School. The agreement also allows Cedar Falls to send students to the Waterloo Career Center, where career and technical education classes are offered. Waterloo’s school board approved the agreement earlier this month.


Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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