Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2008

De Soto board approves bids for expansion of Starside, Clear Creek

The De Soto USD 232 Board of Education approved a bid from Zimmerman Construction of Overland Park to build an addition on Starside Elementary in De Soto and Clear Creek Elementary in Shawnee. The winning bid was $500,000 less than anticipated.

The De Soto USD 232 Board of Education approved a bid from Zimmerman Construction of Overland Park to build an addition on Starside Elementary in De Soto and Clear Creek Elementary in Shawnee. The winning bid was $500,000 less than anticipated.

September 17, 2008

Hard times in the construction industry proved advantageous to the De Soto USD 232 when bids were opened earlier this month for two elementary school expansion projects.

De Soto USD 232 facilities director Denis Johnson presented bids Monday to the district board of education for the expansions of Starside and Clear Creek elementary schools. The low bid from Zimmerman Construction of Overland Park for $1.23 million was $500,000 less than estimated.

"We had a phenomenal day of bidding," Johnson said of the Sept. 3 bid opening. "We had 10 bids. We hit a great building climate. People are hungry right now."

Adding to the strength of the low bid was the tight spread among the 10 bidders. Johnson said only $167,000 separated the low and high bid.

Adding to the strength of the low bid was the tight spread among the 10 bidders. Johnson said only $167,000 separated the low and high bid.

The Zimmerman bid, which the board approved unanimously, was low enough to make affordable a $52,800 alternate bid that would build the additions with moveable partitions, Johnson said. That would give the expansions more flexibility to meet future needs, he said.

The district's capital outlay fund is to be used to pay for the two expansions. Another school, Riverview Elementary, is also in need of an expansion. The low bids had Board Member Bill Fletcher wondering if the district shouldn't go ahead with that project, too.

In response, Johnson said the district still had furniture to buy for the expansion and fees to pay.

The board also dipped into the capital outlay fund to pay for a new sound system at the Mill Valley High School stadium, approving a $28,000 contract with Progressive Electronics Inc. to do the work.

The issue was first discussed in August, and still didn't enjoy the full support of the board. Board members Tim Blankenship and Randy Johnson voted against the measure Monday, questioning its priority and its compatibility with the district's educational mission.

"I said before I don't think this is the right time to do this," Blankenship said. "Give me a trade off, so we can spend money on things more closely aligned our mission."

Board member Johnson said the district increased in mill levy in the 2008-2009 budget and hoped to pass a bond issue that would raise it again. With that, the board should be cautious with the capital outlay fund, he said.

"If we have to increase the capital outlay mill levy, we have a problem," he said.

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