Construction costs for the Toledo Public Schools' building program are starting to decline, mostly because more companies are competing for jobs, officials said yesterday.
"Last year we had one bidder for general construction at Rogers High School," said Dan Burns, the district's chief business manager. "Since then, we've seen a lot more bidders, and especially with general construction, that drives down the price."
The first phase of the construction program, which originally was to replace 57 schools and renovate seven others but has since been scaled back because of enrollment declines, was running about $5.5 million over budget. Through cost-cutting measures and some lower-than-expected bids, the first phase is now $3 million over budget, Mr. Burns said.
"Last year there were some significant spikes in prices with steel being the trigger," he said. "Now we're using less steel in the designs and more concrete, which has helped."
Seventy-seven percent of the new building program, which may total $770 million, is being funded by the state. The remainder is paid for by local property owners from a 4.99-mill, 28-year levy voters approved in 2002.
The Toledo Board of Education is expected to award bids tonight for the new McTigue Middle School, Navarre Elementary, and Garfield Elementary. For McTigue: Blaze Contracting of Detroit will be awarded the nearly $1.8 million bid for site work, and Speiker Construction of Perrysburg will be awarded the nearly $7.3 million bid for general trades. For Garfield and Navarre combined: Rudolph/Libbe Inc. of Walbridge will be awarded the nearly $9.2 million bid for general trades. Crestline Paving of Toledo will be awarded the $628,000 bid for site work at Garfield. Geo. Gradel of Toledo will be awarded the $442,500 bid for Navarre. Mr. Burns said many of the projects have had four to five bidders each.
The district plans to break ground early next month for the new Libbey Middle School, Leverette Middle School, and Bowsher High School.