The Pelham Board of Education voted at its meeting on Wednesday, December 4 to seek new bids for construction of the new Hutchinson School after the initial bids came in over budget.

A statement from the Board of Education said: "Overall, the projects included in Proposition 1 of the 2018 Bond (which includes the new school) are approximately 17% over budget in the initial bids. Components of the proposition that are on budget include the completed site preparation work at Hutchinson School and yet-to-be awarded bids from the Middle and High School renovations."

The Board's Bond Steering Committee recommended this action believing that using a different bidding strategy is likely to result in more favorable prices.

In preparation for the rebidding, the Board identified various modifications to the building specifications to assist with lowering costs to complete the Hutchinson project within the approved budget. TheĀ  discussion of those modifications can be reviewed by watching the video of the meeting.

The video of the Board meeting is available at

The new Request for Proposals for new bids will be open for approximately six weeks and it is not expected to have a negative impact on the project schedule.

A review of the Hutchinson School proposals by the District's architect and construction manager showed several likely drivers of the higher than expected bids. These include a significant rise in the cost of steel and concrete. Additionally, the project had been bid under a Project-Labor Agreement (PLA), which requires one contractor to submit bids encompassing all associated trades. While a previously conducted study showed potential for cost savings using this approach, the net result appears to have inadvertently reduced competitive pricing. The new round of bidding will be subject to regular Wicks Law, which requires that multiple prime contractors bid for their respective trades, such as general contracting, electric, plumbing, HVAC. By seeking new bids under Wicks Law, it is believed that there will be more competition that results in lower pricing.

In a statement from the Board, these points were made:

* In addition to the Hutchinson School construction, renovations planned for Prospect Hill are also over budget due to additional scope that was being considered beyond the accessibility upgrades, bathrooms renovations and creation of a secure entryway included in the original proposal.

* To preserve maximum flexibility, the District will not award any project contracts until the new Hutchinson bids are received and project specifications are reviewed.

The Board's statement also said the installation of a turf field and replacement of tennis courts at Glover, which were approved under a separate proposition and thus have a separate budget, are expected to be completed in the spring. These projects will be completed under budget, which may offer the opportunity to re-allocate funds from the field proposition to assist with the voter approved facilities projects.

"While we are disappointed in the initial Hutchinson bids, we are working diligently with our architect and construction manager to make sure that the key aspects of each project are preserved and that all projects are completed within the budget that was approved by voters," said Dr. Cheryl Champ, Superintendent of Schools. "When the new bids come in, we will sit down and review all possible options and assess the best path for us to move forward."

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