Bowen and Watson, Inc. was awarded a contract this week to serve as the construction manager for the upgrades that are planned over the course of the next two summers.
At a meeting Monday, Mark Channell, assistant superintendent for operations and student services, summarized for the Board of Education the bidding process that took place over the last month.
Eight construction managers expressed interest, five bids were submitted, and four of the bids were qualified in the final process, he explained.
Following the construction manager-at-risk method, a committee comprised of Channell, Superintendent John Jackson, Assistant Superintendent of Financial Operations Randy Morrison, and Malcom Bryan, a construction advisor to the school system, used a scorecard based on the RFQs to rank the companies.
Bowen and Watson ranked No. 1 both on the score sheet and on the cost of the total project, Channell reported, mainly because of the company's experience and documentation of construction management projects, and timeline issues that arose with some of the other companies.
Channell said he and other members of the committee were most impressed with Bowen and Watson's plans for participation of local subcontractors and vendors.
During a Board meeting in January, members of the urged the school system to support the “Go Local” campaign whenever possible.
"As you know, that's something we've tried to do over the last couple of years, is to get our local people more involved in this process and Bowen and Watson has put together a nice plan for local participation where they will actual go out and put it out for bids locally," Channell said at Monday's meeting.
The plan mentions interaction with the local Chamber of Commerce and states, "we prefer to work with local subcontractors due to their local ownership and vested interest in the project. Not only do the construction projects stay in the county, but the service and response time is usually better from someone closer to the project and a member of the community."
Bowen and Watson's bid package totaled a maximum of $2.7 million, Channell said. However, that amount does not include cost of asbestos abatement. Neither does it include the cost of waste removal, which can be contracted at a lesser cost without going through the construction manager, he said.
Over next 30 days, Oconee County Schools will work with Bowen and Watson to finalize plans and begin requesting bids from subcontractors.
Following the meeting, Channell confirmed a groundbreaking ceremony has been scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday at the school.