The Medford School Board accepted bids Tuesday by Medford-based Batzer Construction to build Jackson and Roosevelt elementary schools for a combined price of $18.4 million.
The two elementary schools, built in 1911, are the last two projects in the school district's $189 million bond package that voters approved in November 2006.
Construction is likely to begin in the next 30 to 60 days.
"This is a huge milestone," said Board Chairman Eric Dziura. "We've come a long way and I'm very relieved we've reached this point."
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 because of financial concerns but changed course after community members demanded the campuses be rebuilt.
Batzer's construction price for Jackson and Roosevelt includes building gymnasiums, replacing the original 1911 buildings and renovating the libraries and classroom wings. The two schools were partially demolished in the summer.
The schools are slated to reopen at the end of 2009. Students are now dispersed between Hedrick and McLoughlin middle schools, the West Side School and Hoover Elementary School.
The price to build Jackson and Roosevelt is about $1.2 million more than the lowest construction bidder, Robinson Construction of Bend. Robinson was disqualified for barely missing a deadline to turn in a list of subcontractors. State law did not allow the district to forgive Robinson's tardiness.
The lower bid would have provided extra funds to raze the original building at Oak Grove Elementary, which engineers say has structural problems.
School officials Tuesday indicated the Oak Grove structure, built in 1908, would remain in place and undergo renovation.
Mark Button, district facilities director, presented a revised bond budget including the costs for Jackson and Roosevelt.
The district will have a surplus of about $425,000 under the revised budget figures, Button said.
"This is the first time a budget presented to the School Board was in the black," Button said.
The board has a priority list for projects that could be completed with extra funds, but $425,000 isn't enough of a margin to earmark, Dziura said.
Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.