The apparent lowest bid Thursday for construction at Medford's Jackson and Roosevelt elementary schools cleared the Medford School District's budget and will likely mean the district will have leftover bond funds, district officials said.
The $8.5 million bid each by Robinson Construction of Bend to build Jackson and Roosevelt includes gymnasiums, which district officials in the past had considered excluding if funds ran out from the $189 million bond issue voters approved in November 2006.
"These are the numbers we've been holding for a year and a half," said Mark Button, Medford schools facilities director. "We are very glad all the projects are tracking within the budget projections we had, and this was the final piece to it, so obviously we are really happy."
The Medford School Board is expected to formally accept the bids and authorize construction of the gymnasiums at both schools at an Oct. 7 meeting. Officials also will consider what to do with about $1 million in excess funds from the bond package. The surplus comes from savings on bond projects at South Medford High and Lone Pine Elementary schools.
One proposal for leftover money is to demolish and replace Oak Grove Elementary School's original 100-year-old building, which has structural problems, officials said.
Robinson's was one of four bids the district received to build Jackson and Roosevelt. The other bids came in at $9.1 million from Batzer Construction in Medford, $10.3 million from Adroit Construction in Ashland and $11.3 million from Hogan Construction in Centerville, Utah.
"That's fantastic news," said board Chairman Eric Dziura. "It just gives us more room to maneuver."
The savings came in part because of the national economic downturn but also from shrewd management and scrutiny of expenditures by Button and Medford schools Chief Financial Officer Kent Stephens, including using district employees to manage some of the construction projects, Dziura said.
Jackson and Roosevelt were shuttered in June 2007 at the recommendation of a structural engineer who said the original 1911 and 1931 gymnasiums were unsafe. The School Board briefly considered permanently mothballing the campuses but changed course after community members demanded the campuses be rebuilt.
But the question remained whether the district would earmark enough money for the gyms, causing frustration among Jackson and Roosevelt parents.
"I'm so pleased about this positive direction toward supporting our schools because we weren't going to have the gyms before," said Roosevelt parent Marcia La Fond. "This shows the district is interested in truly investing in all of our children."
The district already has spent about $4 million each at Jackson and Roosevelt for architect fees, demolition of old buildings, permits, portable buildings to temporarily house displaced pupils and a contingency fund. Once the $8.5 million construction price is added, the overall cost of the Jackson and Roosevelt projects is expected to be about $12.5 million each.
The 1911 and 1931 buildings at Jackson and Roosevelt were demolished in the summer. The 1949 classroom wings and libraries were preserved and will be remodeled.
Construction at both campuses is set to begin in the next 30 to 60 days. The schools are scheduled to reopen in late December 2009 or early January 2010.
The bids for Jackson and Roosevelt had been due Wednesday, but contractors requested another day, Button said.
Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.