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The Sun Prairie School Board on Nov. 8 approved a nearly $3.1 million furniture bid that included a contingency fund of more than $106,000 to furnish the new Sun Prairie West High School as well as spaces to be remodeled as part of the Central Heights Middle School and Prairie Phoenix Academy moves into 220 Kroncke Drive.

A report to the board from SPASD Director of Facilities and Grounds Kevin Sukow explained in April 2019, the SPASD voters approved two referendum questions that allowed the district to undertake multiple construction projects. One project was SPWHS. The total overall budget for the West High School project was set at $135,415,396, which includes construction, design and owner costs.

The owner costs section includes items that the district directly purchases such as Fixtures, Furniture, and Equipment (FF&E). The owner’s cost section was mainly derived by using information from the current Sun Prairie East High School construction project, rate of inflation, and current trends.

In August 2019, a solicitation was issued for consultation services to help assess the furniture needs for the referendum projects, create bid specifications for a request for proposal process, and for the overall administration of the procurement process. In September, Marshfield Book and Stationery (MBS) was selected to provide these services. Also, Fielding Nair International (FNI) was brought on as a design consultant to assist with visioning and furniture assessment.

User group meetings were coordinated by FNI and MBS, with help from SPASD administration.

Sukow wrote in his report that during the course of many months, meetings were held with different departments at the High School and Cardinal Heights, front office staff, administrators, athletics staff, etc. to determine the unique needs of all end users.

Furniture solution options were presented and either selected or feedback was given that helped MBS to select what furniture would be put into the bid specifications. Feedback sessions included 3 days in February 2021, where samples of different furniture options were placed in the SPHS Library for staff and students to try out. Once the furniture needs were established, the budget amount was refined using input from MBS related to current market conditions.

With material availability and pricing issues starting to be experienced in early summer, and at the advice of our consultant and industry contacts, SPASD decided to accelerate the timeline to select vendors to allow for more lead time for furniture procurement.

“By going to bid sooner, the hope was to lock into favorable pricing for the furniture with the expectation any delay would result in increased costs,” Sukow added in his report. “The district is already seeing price increases.”

After the assessment phase was completed, MBS prepared a furniture layout and specifications to be submitted for bidding and procurement. The bid was broken out into 11 sections to simplify the bid award and procurement process. This was solicited for bid on Aug. 16, 2021, and bids were due Sept. 13. Bids were solicited from five different vendors, many of whom have worked successfully with SPASD in the past. After bids were received, interviews were held with the two companies that returned bids. The evaluation process included review of physical seating samples brought by the vendors.

A group of SPASD staff and administrators has met monthly, starting during the initial bid development to manage the FF&E budget. Initial work was dedicated to budget development, but after that, much time was put into the selection of materials and creation of the furniture bid. After the bids were received, the group met weekly to discuss, vet, and select the vendors to recommend for the bid awards.

The reason the bid recommendation was being considered by the board Nov. 8 was to allow for orders to be placed by the end of December, with furniture to be delivered and installed between May and August of 2022. Substantial completion of the project will occur before August 9, 2022.

After a visioning process and the type of furniture was selected, the consultant estimated SPASD should be looking at $3.5 million and the budget was revised.

The recommended cost for each section is:

Classroom Seating: $319,213.22 to Henricksen; Tables: $930,646.12 to MBS; Art: $130,115.92 to MBS; Classroom Organization: $357,421.61 to MBS; Shelving: $333,370.41 to MBS; Music: $129,686.74 to MBS; Miscellaneous: $ 86,497.40 to MBS; Cafeteria: $581,296.24 to MBS; Soft Seating: $446,284.75 to MBS; Office Desking: $292,050.30 to MBS and Office Seating: $154,273.17 to Henricksen.

The bid recommendations total $3,760,855.88 but SPASD has engaged the vendors in value engineering exercises and will continue to do so throughout the procurement process, Sukow added.

The SPASD has reviewed initial savings, rebates, and scope reductions that total $197,630 which makes the total expected costs $3,563,225.43 — a figure that is in line with the conceptual budget.

Sukow also recommended allocating a SPASD-held contingency of $106,896.76 or about 3% of the total bid to allow for quantity changes, out-of-production issues, or any other issues.

The board approved awarding these bids:

• Classroom seating and office seating sections for furniture procurement to Henricksen for a total not to exceed $473,486.39;

• The tables, art, classroom organization, shelving, music, miscellaneous, cafeteria, soft seating, and office desking sections for furniture procurement to Marshfield Book and Stationery for a total not to exceed $3,089,739.04; and

• A district-held contingency of $106,896.76.

Funding will come from Fund 49 or other funds designated for the Sun Prairie West High School project.

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