High concrete prices put a damper on St. Louis schools construction projects

By Ralph Echtinaw

Some of the school district’s planned work in connection with a 2021 construction bond ballot proposal has been postponed on account of high bids in concrete and metals.

When the low bids were tallied from a dozen contractors the result was over the bond budget of $2,448,153 and over the estimated costs, wrote project manager Clint Clark of Wolgast Corporation in a Jan. 12 letter to Superintendent Jennifer McKittrick.

That triggered a discussion with the architect and the school district as to “which projects are a priority and which projects should be delayed or cancelled,” Clark wrote.

Although concrete bids were solicited from 73 contractors, only one responded. Graham Construction of Saginaw bid $379,000. Clark characterized that as “extremely high” and said he will wait to see if costs for concrete work come down, then re-bid the project.

“We have decided to recommend not to do Carrie Knause drive and parking lot at this time.”

Clint Clark of Wolgast Corp.

Some 44 metals contractors were asked to bid on the Nikkari canopy project, but only three submitted bids. The lowest was Bill’s Custom Fab of Mt. Pleasant at $68,000, but that was deemed too high. So the canopy is being redesigned. “Once complete we will request an updated proposal from the low bid contractor for metals,” Clark wrote.

Low bidders that were approved include Garber Contracting of Mt. Pleasant ($139,000), Beyer Roofing of Saginaw ($174,000), Denali Construction of Mt. Pleasant ($127,000), Integrity Interiors of Flint ($68,000), Lansing Tile & Mosaic ($14,000), North Coast Studios of Roseville ($18,000), Thumb Cooling & Heating of Cass City ($394,000) and Revolution Electric of Alma ($295,000).

The county put up a roadblock to the project, too, by requiring retention ponds at Carrie Knause and Nikkari if new drives and parking areas are built.

Ergo, “We have decided to recommend not to do Carrie Knause drive and parking lot at this time,” Clark said.

McKittrick said the “retention ponds are concerning. I don’t care for the standing water, especially at Nikkari. The location is close to where a playground could be. A drive is nice and needed because there’s lots of congestion, but we don’t want to take away from infrastructure.”

Some $1,228,000 of work has now been approved. “That includes sound baffling, TSN in the auditorium, a lot of door replacement at TSN and the high school, roofing on the east side of this building at the high school, exterior door glass and glazing at here, TSN and Westgate, new stage curtains at the high school, mechanical units at different locations,” Clark said.

School district voters approved the bond to fund all this work on Aug. 3, 2021.

BPA students going places

Some 21 students in the district’s Business Professionals of America chapter participated in a regional competition at Central Michigan University and qualified for the state competition in Grand Rapids (March 9-12). Those who qualify for nationals there will travel to California at the end of April or beginning of May. McKittrick praised BPA advisors Terri Reeves and Andrea Biehl.

Wood shop makes cutting boards for board members

Board members got a pleasant surprise at meeting’s end Monday when McKittrick presented them with cutting boards made in the high school wood shop. Each cutting board has a Shark logo engraved into it.

Additions and subtractions

Board members accepted the resignations of high school agriscience teacher Matt Bernia and bus driver Randy Zeilinger.

Bernia, who was hired in August 2018, took a job with Michigan State University at Muskegon Community College..

Zeilinger, who was hired in February 2013, left for health reasons.

Board members approved the retirement of middle school custodian Connie Parling, who was hired in December 1992. Her last day will be June 29.

“This is a tough one,” McKittrick said. “Connie has been a fantastic part of our custodial team. She takes pride in her work and will be hard to replace.”

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