Lake High School Principal Lee Herman stands in the hallway where an open entranceway will lead into an unfinished part of the high school that will be turned into six classrooms.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
The Lake Local Schools will convert an unfinished area of the high school into six classrooms for eighth-grade students for less money than anticipated.
The board of education last week gave the go-ahead to the project and awarded a $326,400 contract for it to the lowest bidder, the Spieker Co.
The area to be converted is 10,000 square feet on the upper floor of the high school that had always been intended for classroom use. It needs framing, drywalling, and electrical work, and technology must be installed.
School officials emphasized that the project is not an addition. “There is no bricks and mortar involved,” Jeff Carpenter, the district’s treasurer, said.
The new classrooms will enable the district to move the eighth grade into the high school building and the fifth grade to the middle school in the 2013-14 year to relieve crowding in the elementary school left by the closing and sale of the outdated Walbridge Elementary.
The cost of the project will be covered by a $220,000 gift to the district from the estate of Joseph Baker, proceeds from the sale of the Walbridge Elementary property, and savings from no longer having to operate that obsolete building. “So it’s basically free,” Mr. Carpenter said.
Officials were pleased that all four bids came in well below the $390,000 estimated cost. The second lowest was submitted by Willson Builders Inc., at $330,000. Rudolph/Libbe’s came in at $336,426, and A.A. Boos and Sons Inc.’s at $337,733.
The school district’s architect, the Collaborative, said all bidders were competent firms.
Board President Tim Krugh said the Collaborative had worked favorably with Spieker before.
Mr. Krugh, an attorney, said state law required the district to accept the lowest and best bid.
This was not the case with the project to rebuild the high school after it was mostly destroyed by a tornado in 2010, he noted, because Lake then met a condition called urgent necessary.
Rudolph/Libbe received high marks for its work on that $25.5 million project, and last year received a Build Ohio Award for it from the Associated General Contractors of Ohio.
Board member John Ervin said he would have preferred to have Rudolph/Libbe do the classroom project, even though it would mean spending more. “I’d feel way more comfortable having Rudolph/Libbe do it,” he told board members.
Mr. Krugh, however, said the district had no leeway. “Our hands are tied” because of the Ohio Revised Code, he explained.
The vote to accept the Spieker bid was 4-1, with Brad Delventhal, a Rudolph/Libbe employee, abstaining.