Split Mehlville board OKs contract for elementary work


Executive Editor

A split Mehlville Board of Education recently voted to award a nearly $452,000 contract for renovations at three elementary schools.

The Board of Education voted 5-2 last week to award a $451,920 contract to the Diestelkamp Construction Co. for renovations at Forder Elementary, Hagemann Elementary and Rogers Elementary.

Board member Tom Correnti’s motion to award the contract was seconded by board member Bill Schorn-heuser. Besides Correnti and Schornheuser, President Cindy Christopher, Vice President Matthew Chellis and Secretary Marea Kluth-Hoppe voted in favor of the motion. Opposed were board members Mike Heins and Rita Diekemper.

Along with the district’s new early childhood center that is under construction, the elementary school renovations are the last projects — with the exception of roofing work — that will be done as part of the Proposition P districtwide building improvement program.

Diestelkamp Construction submitted the lowest of nine bids and will serve as general contractor for the renovation work at the three schools. Approval of the contract was recommended by the Northstar Management Co., the district’s owner/agent for the re-maining Proposition P projects, Dickinson Hussman Architects and the district administration.

“We did accept bids from general contractors. We’re performing this work similar to the work at early childhood, where we have one general contractor rather than several trade contractors like we did when McCarthy was managing our projects,” Randy Charles, assistant superintendent for finance and the district’s chief financial officer, told the board.

“As we prepare a budget for this scope of work, we recommend setting aside a 10 percent contingency for this work since it is renovation work. That would be fairly consistent with our experience over the last three years. This would bring our projected cost to $497,112, which would still be $13,488 under budget,” Charles said.

“This particular contractor was interviewed by Northstar and by DHA to make sure they had accounted for the entire scope of work. We did specifically ask them questions about the contractors they plan to use. Diestelkamp in addition to our No. 2 and I think maybe even our No. 3 bidder, indicated to us that they are using all union labor with the exception of the electrical contractor. They are intending to use a non-union contractor,” the assistant superintendent said.

“We did ask the questions related to setting up two-gate systems, managing any possible labor issues and absorbing the cost of those if they were to arise,” he continued. “They answered all those questions satisfactorily. We did ask the question of what additional cost would be incurred if they were to use all union labor on the entire project and the additional cost would be roughly $50,000 from them to change to a union contractor for the electrical work on this project.”

In response to questions from Correnti, Tom Buelter of Northstar noted that the three lowest bidders all planned to use Reinhold Electric Inc. for the project.

“So three of the bids used that same non-union electrical contractor?” Correnti asked.

Buelter said, “That’s correct.”

Correnti continued, “And we’re not go-ing to have any hassles with any of those guys?”

Buelter said, “No, there’s no issues. I’ve had numerous discussions with Bob Diestelkamp about the other subcontractors that he would be using on this project and he has had subsequent conversations with those subcontractors and there’s no issues with the mechanical sub working with this electrician or any of those other ones. There should be no repercussions.”

Charles said, “Tom, just to follow up, though, to fully answer that question honestly, you’ll see that later in the agenda we’re recommending a data contractor also to work at Forder, Hagemann and Rogers, and that’s PayneCrest Electric, which is a union contractor.

“So we will need to continue to work with PayneCrest and Tom and Diestelkamp and (Information Technology Services Director) Steve Lee, (Operations/Maintenance Director) Rick Platz to make sure that we address any potential labor issues that might arise between, primarily between Reinhold and PayneCrest. I think that is our most …”

Correnti interjected, “Hot spot?”

Charles said, “Yeah, that would be our hot spot if there is one.”

Christopher said, “So on prevailing wage with the electrical subcontractor, that has all been cleared …”

Buelter said, “Yes, ma’am. The certified payrolls actually come to myself and I subsequently review those certified payrolls.”

In response to a question by Correnti about the time frame for the work, Buelter said, “… One of the major topics that we talked about on interviews was making sure that the contractor understood the schedule, No. 1, for the entire scope of work and being done by Aug. 1st is when we’re asking them to be complete, and also understanding the schedules.

“It’s spelled out in the bid documents that they have an end date of July 1st … to have rough-ins for the electric done so PayneCrest can come in and have enough time to have their work complete by Aug. 1st,” he added.

Work proposed for Forder, Hagemann and Rogers includes security locking, information technology “raceways,” cooling units for data closets and electrical work for the cooling units.

Site-specific improvements also are planned for the schools as follows:

Forder — Site-specific work includes tuckpointing areas of an exterior brick wall and adding acoustical panels in the commons.

• Hagemann — Site-specific work includes repairing cracks in the gymnasium wall, adding sound insulation to the music room, providing handrails on exterior stairs and adding a classroom sink.

• Rogers — Expansion of the bus-stacking area originally had been proposed, but this problem was resolved through elementary redistricting.

Voters in November 2000 approved Proposition P, a nearly $68.4 million bond issue funded by a 49-cent tax-rate in-crease. However, the Board of Education voted in November to approve a revised Proposition P budget of $88,927,440.

The revised Proposition P budget represents a roughly 30 percent increase — more than $20.5 million — over the $68.4 million building improvement program en-visioned in 2000.

In other business, the board:

• Voted unanimously to award a $237,000 contract to PayneCrest Electric and Communication to upgrade data and video wiring to support the new Propo-sition P technology at Forder Elementary, Hagemann Elementary and the new early childhood center.

• Voted unanimously to award a $427,841 contract to Bi-State Roofing for work at Oakville Senior High School and Trautwein Elementary. Under the revised Proposition P budget adopted in Novem-ber, the contract is $15,091 over budget as a result of increased costs for petroleum-based materials.