A groundbreaking ceremony for the Milton School District referendum projects will be held 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at Milton East Elementary School. Construction on the $59.9 million projects approved by voters in April will start with the elementary schools and East will be the very first. 

The school board with a 6-0 vote Monday authorized interim Superintendent Rich Dahman to sign a notice for JP Cullen to proceed into the construction phase of the elementary school projects.

School district owner’s rep Mike Huffman of Huffman Facility Development gave a referendum project update.

Bids were due Oct. 8 for projects at the school district’s four elementary schools, representing about $9 million.

“We had a good bid day,” said Huffman, noting there’s still some due diligence vetting that needs to be done of all of the bidders to make sure they have the bonding capacity required and that their bids are complete, for instance.

Steve Klaven, development manager with Huffman Facility Development, said the bidding community definitely knew about the elementary school projects. Information was disseminated via iSqFt, an online preconstruction management service; more than 2,000 notices from Cullen to subcontractors; a prebid conference and local media.

Klaven reports JP Cullen received more than 100 bids on bid day.

“Every major trade had at least two or more bids,” he said, adding that the quality of the subcontractors also was good.

Dan Swanson, JP Cullen vice president of estimating and work procurement, reported the bids that came in reflect a savings of $143,457, or about 1.6 percent.

“In this market, it’s really good to bid under budget,” Swanson added. “There is a lot of work out there.”

Submitted with project plans were items intended to be capital maintenance items, which Swanson said will be presented by school district director of building and grounds Stephen Schantz in a future capital maintenance budget for the board to approve. Among the capital maintenance items, estimated at $526,000, were bathroom renovations, fire alarms and one or two others, Klaven said. Bids for those projects came in $290,000 lower than what they might have come in as standalone projects, he said.

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