Board-approved contract with McCarthy caps firm’s Prop P fees at $7.2 million

By Alyson E. Raletz

After months of negotiating, the Mehlville Board of Education has approved a contract with the McCarthy Construction Co., capping the total amount of money the Proposition P construction manager will be paid at roughly $7.2 million.

McCarthy Construction was selected by the Board of Education to serve as the construction manager of Proposition P in November 2000 shortly after voters approved a districtwide building improvement program then estimated to cost nearly $68.4 million that would be funded by a 49-cent tax-rate increase. However, the Board of Education last September adopted a revised Proposition P budget totaling more than $86.7 million.

On Nov. 13, 2000, the board approved the selection of McCarthy as construction manager for Proposition P and directed administrators to “negotiate and develop a contract with McCarthy Construction.”

But the original contract with McCarthy never was approved by the board. Instead, the undated contract was signed by former Superintendent John Cary.

The original contract totaled $2.835 million in construction management fees and projected the cost of general conditions at $3.321 million.

The amended contract, which board members unanimously approved Feb. 24, increased and capped McCarthy’s construction management fees at $2,969,683.

It also capped general conditions to $3,527,559. To date, McCarthy has billed the district $2,861,965 in general conditions, which led the district to establish a fixed rate of $73,955 a month for the duration of McCarthy’s involvement as construction manager, which is nine months.

The district and McCarthy, according to Superintendent Tim Ricker, have agreed to terminate their relationship Oct. 31. For some time, Ricker told the Call, McCarthy was scheduled to work until the end of November.

With one month less of McCarthy’s involvement, the district received credits that would have paid personnel for an extra month.

Fixed printing and pre-construction service costs also were established, with printing to cost the district no more than $206,040 and pre-construction services to cost the district no more than $505,014.

To make up for inaccurate estimates,which led to higher-than-anticipated bids for renovation work at Blades, Beasley and Point elementary schools, McCarthy agreed to discount the district $65,000 in pre-construction services, according to Kevin Kuntz of McCarthy.

Also, through contract negotiations, the district is receiving a $12,429 credit to account for items that never should have been billed to the district, Kuntz told board members last week.

“We called out items that shouldn’t have been billed,” he said, noting those items were “oversights.”

The fixed fees and caps on reimbursables, according to district and McCarthy estimates, will save the district $2,533,590.

Once McCarthy’s involvement ends in October, Ricker told board members Feb. 24, Operations/Maintenance Director Rick Platz will assume responsibilities as Proposition P construction manager.

Supervisory responsibilities have been shifted in the district, Ricker told the Call, so that Platz will be able to focus all of his attention on remaining Proposition P projects — work at Forder, Hagemann and Rogers elementary schools and the construction of a new early childhood center.

Ricker said Randy Charles, assistant superintendent of finance and the district’s chief financial officer, recently had discussed the new responsibilities with Platz to determine if he believed he had enough manpower, time and expertise to take on the projects.

And administrators are confident that he does, he said.