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Helmut Schmidt, Published February 24 2012

West Fargo high school bids nearly $2 million under budget

WEST FARGO – The School Board accepted bids that came in nearly $2 million less than expected for the first phase of work to expand Sheyenne 9th Grade Center into West Fargo School District’s next high school.

The bids for general, mechanical and electrical construction and quality assurance testing came in at $11,045,503, about 15 percent lower than expected, Superintendent David Flowers said Friday.

That includes accepting $218,000 in alternate bids to pave the parking lot with concrete and to use carpet tile in classrooms, he said.

The original estimate from YHR architects was $12,943,687.

“We were very pleased,"

Flowers said. “It was great, great news.”

The first phase of construction includes classrooms and career and technical education spaces.

The second phase of construction at Sheyenne, slated for next year, includes an auditorium, fine arts area and locker rooms.

The savings from Friday’s bids could be used for the second phase of construction, or for other schools being built with the $82.5 million in bonding authority voters approved last year, Flowers said.

Liberty Middle School, which will be located just north of Sheyenne, appears “a little over budget” as the design phase ends, Flowers said. That’s partly because it may require more work below ground level due to soil issues.

Liberty is budgeted at

$33 million and bids are scheduled to be accepted March 21 for that project.

“We hope we have the same positive bid climate” for Liberty, Flowers said.

The Sheyenne Phase I expansion had 10 general contractors bidding for the project, he said.

Julie Rokke, a principal parter for YHR, agreed the bidding was competitive.

“People are kind of anxious to stay over on this side of the state. It’s kind of chaotic in the western part of the state” with the oil boom, Rokke said.

Construction of Freedom Elementary is expected to be completed this summer. It is scheduled to open in time for school this fall.

Construction of the high school academic wing and Liberty Middle School are to be done by fall 2013. The Phase II work on the high school is planned for completion by fall 2014.

A ninth-grade center addition is also planned for the current high school, and construction of a second 550-student elementary will begin when district enrollment reaches a trigger point, district officials have said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

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