Lindbergh board approves contract for final phase of Prop R 2008 work

All Proposition R 2008 work within budget, Simpson says.

By MIKE ANTHONY

A $3.75 million contract for the final phase of work for Lindbergh Schools’ Proposition R 2008 bond issue recently was awarded by the Board of Education.

Board members voted unanimously earlier this month to award the $3.75 million contract to ICS Construction Services Ltd. for work at Sperreng Middle School and Truman Elementary School, which will be converted into a middle school for the 2011-2012 school year.

Thirteen general contractors submitted bids for the work and ICS Construction Services was the low bidder.

District voters approved Proposition R 2008, a $31 million bond issue, in November 2008. The board had placed Proposition R 2008 on the ballot with the goal of providing a long-term solution to space concerns at Sperreng Middle School.

More than 1,300 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders are jammed into the middle school that was designed to accommodate 800 pupils when it opened in 1970.

While Sperreng will remain a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, funds from Prop R 2008 are being used to convert Truman Elementary School to a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school, add onto Crestwood and Long elementary schools, convert Concord School to an elementary school and construct a new Early Childhood Education building at 4814 S. Lindbergh Blvd. Work is well under way on Concord Elementary while the new ECE building recently opened to pupils.

The board voted in December 2009 to award a $15,503,500 contract for the Concord Elementary and ECE projects to Diestelkamp Construction Co., the lowest bidder. Thirteen bids were submitted.

In May, the board voted to award a $6.37 million contract for work at Crestwood and Long elementary schools to Tri-Co Inc. Commercial, the low bidder. Fifteen bids were submitted for the work, which includes the construction of additions at each elementary school and improvements to the front entrances at each school.

All of the Prop R 2008 work is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 1.

Executive Director of Planning and Development Karl Guyer told the Board of Education Feb. 8 that the ICS Construction Services contract “is the third and final major project as part of the facilities transition to a two-middle-school concept …

“Yes, Sperreng is a middle school. Yes, Truman was constructed as a middle school, but with its use over the past many years as an elementary and with the facility’s aging and it had to be adapted for elementary, that facility requires some updating.”

Guyer said he also was recommending the board approve six alternates along with the base bid submitted by ICS Construction Services.

“We also took a look at the budget availability and what options that we could look at,” he said. “And in taking a look at those options, we’re recommending the base bid as well as Alternates 1, 2 and 3, which would provide updating of some lockers at Truman and Sperreng. And also Alternates 5, 6 and 7, which complete monument identity signs at three campuses as well as establishing a new athletic field area at Sperreng …”

Board member Larry McIntosh asked Guyer about how much money remains from the original budget.

Guyer replied, “… I don’t have an exact number for you, Larry, this evening, but … we have a reasonable balance remaining for contingency as we go forward. There are also amounts set aside in consideration of what I’m proposing tonight. There’s still amounts set aside for furniture, for some materials for the library because when we shift from one middle school to two middle schools, there will be some additions that need to be included as we expand the middle school libraries. We simply don’t have enough materials to break Sperreng into two and have it adequate for each facility.

“And then we have a small amount of money set aside for the moves this summer, which although it’s not a construction project it will be the focus — a secondary but major focus — of this summer’s work. So we feel in looking at all of the pool of money yet to be expended and yet to be paid out because we have contractors that have not completed all of their work to date — as I take a look at that, we have adequate funds to do all of that work and there is a small cushion …”

Of the construction work at Truman and Sperreng, Superintendent Jim Simpson told the Call the majority of the work will involve transforming Truman back into a middle school.

“If you summarize what is happening at Truman and Sperreng, it is creating specialty areas to fit really the education that’s going to occur in those buildings now … It’s interior work. You won’t drive by the building and see something. We’ve got to modify some classrooms. We’ve got to put some walls up. We’ve got to put some science labs together,” he said. “We’ve got to take existing interior rooms and make them into different kinds of rooms like band rooms.

“See, we’ve got a new band. It’s called the Truman Middle School Band and they at this time have no place to practice. But guess what? By August, they will.”

Regarding the new athletic field at Sperreng, Simpson said, “It has nothing really to do with the middle schools, but we were able to get this into this bid process because our bids are coming in very competitive … We have a shortage of athletic fields. We’re under constant desire to try to provide athletic fields for our students to practice their sports … Trying to address that need, even one field at a time is critical to us and so we for the first time in many years are going to put a new athletic field together … It’s not going to take any of the Sperreng playground because it’s an acre we actually have on the edge of Sperreng that now has as an older home on it …”

That house will be demolished next month and the new athletic field will be in place this fall, Simpson said.

All of the Prop R 2008 projects are well within budget, the superintendent said.

“Everything’s coming in under budget. We’ve been very fortunate with Prop R ’08. We’ve gotten tremendous value. We’ve had great construction based on the fact everybody is hungry,” he said. “All the subcontractors are wanting to get paid as fast as possible. Therefore, they’ve got to get their job done as fast as possible … This recession is not a good thing, but if you have the money to build during the recession, then you really get good bids and you get a really focused effort by your building trades. And so we’ve been very fortunate. We’re very happy with how everything’s gone so far.”