Mehlville takes bids to buy more buses, improve facilities with its Proposition R funds

By Erin Achenbach
Staff Reporter
eachenbach@callnewspapers.com 

The Mehlville Board of Education considered and accepted three bids Feb. 21, including bids for bus replacements and for repainting the ceiling in the Mehlville High School gym and replacing ceiling tiles in Mehlville classrooms.

Bus Bids

Passed in November 2015, Proposition R for Restore, a 49-cent tax-rate increase, has funded multiple capital improvements throughout the district.

One component of Prop R was to replace the school buses the district uses with new ones. To date, Mehlville has replaced 22 buses using Prop R funds, six each year.

The district received two bids for the six buses, one from Central States for $97,845 per bus for a total of $587,070, and one from Midwest Bus Sales for $96,873 per bus for a total of $581,238. Mehlville has used Central States for its buses in the past.

The district did look into another bus manufacturer, International, but the company did not have the type of bus under district specifications. Mehlville buses use hydraulic braking systems while the buses International manufactures use air brakes.

Despite the bid from Midwest Bus being $5,832 cheaper than the bid from Central States, Director of Transportation Dan Gilman recommended that the board contract with Central States. For one, Central States is located out of Fenton which would be much closer for parts and services, while the closest Midwest Bus location to Mehlville is in Litchfield, Illinois, a little over an hour away, said Gilman.

Another factor in Gilman’s recommendation came from the fact that Central States uses Bluebird buses, which Mehlville currently uses, while Midwest Bus uses Thomas buses. Because Mehlville already uses Bluebird, the district has a stock of parts for the one bus manufacturer and adding a different manufacturer into the mix would increase the cost of parts the district would have in inventory.

“I’d rather go with the better bus,” said Gilman.

The board unanimously voted without any discussion to continue contracting with Central States.

Facilities bids

Facilities Director Mike Gegg presented two bids to the board, one to repaint the ceiling in Mehlville High School Gym A and one to replace ceiling tiles in Mehlville High classrooms.

“Last year we did the floor in Gym A in Mehlville Senior and if you go in there and check it out and look up, you’ll notice the ceiling is yellowed and some of the ductwork is flaking,” said Gegg. The current ceiling is the original paint.

The facilities director recommended the board contract with TR&L Contractors for $37,386, which would include contingency and professional fees. The actual painting would be subcontracted out to Leach Painting Company, while TR&L would provide protection of the gym floor, protection of items not to be painted and the final clean-up.

Board President Samantha Stormer questioned if Mehlville had ever used TR&L Contractors or Leach Painting before. Gegg said they had not, but he looked into Leach Painting and felt that they did good work and was comfortable recommending the bid to the board.

The board unanimously approved the contract.

Gegg also recommended approving a contract with John Kalicak Construction, Inc., for the replacement of ceiling tiles in nine Mehlville classrooms for $95,387, including professional and contingency fees. Currently the rooms have old tiles that are being held in place with an adhesive that is no longer holding. Tiles have fallen into the classrooms, sometimes when classes are in session.

Asbestos abatement and air monitoring would also have to be done alongside the tile replacement. Gegg recommended that the board approve a $29,737 contract with Midwest Service for asbestos abatement and air monitoring by PSI for $1,250.