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Renovation of District 518 administrative building to cost $2.18 million

Storage building project also moves forward

District 518 Administrative Building

WORTHINGTON — The District 518 Board of Education accepted a bid of $2.18 million for the renovation of and addition to its administrative offices Monday, as well as a bid of $758,352 to build a storage building for the district.

Both projects were more expensive than some previous estimates had indicated, with the administrative building project being about $400,000 over its estimate.

Brennan Companies of Mankato was the only bidder for the administrative offices, and Clair Van Grouw Construction, Worthington, was the lowest bidder for the storage facility.

“Why only one bidder?” asked school board member Mike Harberts of the planned addition and renovation of the administrative office building.

Chris Ziemer, a project director with ICS, and Nick Willman, project manager with ICS, explained that while essentially anyone can get bonded, the higher construction value, the higher the cost of the bond, and the local contractor that had been interested in doing the project simply didn’t want to pay for the additional upgrade in their bonding status.

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ICS had reached out to others who had worked on District 518 construction projects before, but the contractors cited a tight labor force and a desire to avoid being stretched too thin, as well as the volatility of cost of materials.

School Board Member Steve Schnieder pointed out that another district project involving replacing HVAC systems had come in less than estimated — by more than a million dollars.

“If you put all these projects into a bigger picture, and look at what we're doing, we're still coming out way ahead of what we had thought we'd be spending coming up this year for construction projects,” he said.

Superintendent John Landgaard said the school is still looking at its options for housing its district offices during construction, and its plan B remains using space at the former West Elementary building.

The Board accepted the bid on a 4-3 vote, with Chairwoman Lori Dudley, Schnieder, Joel Lorenz and Brad Shaffer in favor and Harberts, Tom Prins and Adam Blume opposed.

Two companies bid on the District’s storage building project, which also came in over the expected budget, though approximately the same as an estimate made in January.

The board had expected more local contractors to bid on the storage project as well, but conversations with them had shown that some were too busy, some again did not want to pay the extra cost to get bonded and then some who had said they would bid on the project did not do so.

“I love that we have a local contractor and (it’s) $200,000 less than another, second bid,” Dudley said.

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The Board accepted the bid on a 5-2 vote, with Dudley, Schnieder, Lorenz, Shaffer and Blume in favor and Harberts and Prins opposed.

Board members also continued discussion of a potential employee retention plan and hiring incentives for new employees. No decisions were made in the matter.

READ MORE FROM KARI LUCIN

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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