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Published: Wednesday, 5/5/2010

Bids for new Pettisville school $1M below estimates


PETTISVILLE - The Pettisville Board of Education will consider awarding six contracts next week for a new K-12 school building after low bids came in more than $1 million below the district's estimated cost.

A $9,059,000 bid from the Daley Co., of Lake Orion, Mich., for general construction services was the lowest of six the district received for that work, Superintendent Stephen Switzer said.

That accounts for about two thirds of the project's total expected cost. Fitzenrider Inc. of Defiance was the low bidder, at $2,002,800, for plumbing and climate control.

Overall, the lowest bids came in at a combined $13,401,698. The district's cost estimate for the school was $14,571,164.

But a consultant last week was reviewing the bids to ensure all specifications had been met, so it's not guaranteed that the low bids will be accepted when the school board meets Monday evening, Mr. Switzer said.

Not part of the project is an atrium linking the new building with the existing school, for which the Pettisville School Foundation has started a $500,000 fund-raising campaign.

Thanks to challenge gifts from several local businesses and residents, the first $150,000 raised from other donors will be matched, said Jason Grieser, a Pettisville alumnus who is co-chairman of the fund drive.

"The atrium will be the first area visitors will see when entering the building for events in the gym or the auditorium," said Lynn Miller, also a co-chairman and Pettisville graduate.

"It will be an attractive space, but more important, it will be functional."

Pettisville has a history of using privately donated funds for school improvements.

In 1994, the foundation raised nearly $2 million to build the existing school's gym and library, and it also has paid for upgrading the school track to all-weather capability.

About 38,000 square feet of the existing school's 90,000 feet, "mostly the 1994 addition," will remain in use after the new building's construction, Mr. Switzer said, with the 30-foot-by-70-foot two-story atrium linking the two structures.

Had the atrium's $500,000 estimated cost been included in the building project, a 7.86-mill bond levy that district voters approved for construction would have had to be 0.76 mill larger.

If the fund drive comes up short, Mr. Switzer said, there are cost-cutting options in the atrium's design.

"We just simply build one that's not as nice," the superintendent said.

Construction of the new school building is scheduled to start late this month, with opening planned in time for the 2011-2012 school year.

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