Krueger Co. receives bid, estimates 500 days to complete

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

After one and a half-hours of discussion and review, Alice ISD school board members approved Krueger Construction's bid of $16,829,930 to build the new William Adams Middle School, which includes $439,930 in additional items for the new school.

The district received three competitive sealed proposals, from Krueger Construction, Fulton Construction and Ewing Construction.

Fulton submitted the highest base bid of $18,120,000 and Ewing came in at $17,412,000 for the project.

The bid packages included 21 alternate additions to the project, which board members approved at the time of bid approval.

Several of those items included additional scoreboard units for the gymnasium, a security camera system, miscellaneous parking, additional library shelving and additional furniture in several areas, among other items.

Architect LaMarr Womack said Krueger has an extensive school construction background, including Orange Grove High School, a school in Banquete, several sites in the Laredo and San Antonio areas, and recently a new elementary school in Corpus Christi, Womack said.

Board member Tony Bill asked if they had ever had problems with non-compliance, which is a concern for any district involved with large construction projects.

During his evaluation, Womack said he covered questions concerning project completion, and any previous history of litigation. Womack said on both subjects, Krueger came up clean.

Superintendent Henry Herrera said the cost of the project, at 135,000 total square feet, comes out to $121.40 per square feet, which was well below the estimated cost the district used before, which was closer to $145 per square feet.

"Several of the contractors said the best we would probably be able to get was $145 per square foot. Even if we include the alternate items, we are still coming out well below that number, at $124.66 per square foot," Womack said.

Since it is a sealed competitive bid process, there is room for negotiation after the board's approval, officials said.

One area of discussion is the time frame involved on the project. In the bid Krueger gave 500 days for construction, which would give an expected completion date of Nov. 11, 2008.

Many board members, including Ciro Zamora, stated their desire to see that date moved up to sometime before the start of school, so that the district would have time to move equipment over to the new campus before the year starts in fall of 2008.

Zamora said he would be open to offering additional funding, if it meant a shorter construction time. Board Vice President Yolanda Bueno, who was running the meeting in President R. David Guerrero's absence, said the last thing the district wanted to do was rush the contractor on the project.

Herrera said there was room for negotiation, and that a stipulation to make an effort at negotiating the time frame on construction was included on the approved action item. The company did agree to a $1,000 a day late penalty, should they run over the estimated 500 days of construction.